Smoke pushes Siskiyou County air pollution levels to 'very unhealthy' Monday morning
Smoke from wildfires pushed Siskiyou County's pollution levels to those considered unhealthy to very unhealthy for all people to breathe.
Siskiyou County levels dropped into the high unhealthy range by noon, according to the EPA's AirNow air quality index (AQI). Air pollution levels in Mount Shasta and Yreka have been sustained in the "very unhealthy" range sustained daily since Friday, according to Air Now.
Right now, “we (Siskiyou County) have really crappy air," Siskiyou County air pollution control office Jim Smith said. "In places, it has been very hazardous since the Red Salmon Fire started.”
People should avoid areas with active fires throughout the North State, like Happy Camp, Smith said.
Gusty winds, predicted through Thursday, may help clear the air a bit this week, according to a forecast from the National Weather Service in Sacramento. But those same winds, together with dry fuels, could spread current fires and enable the start and spread of new ones.
Until the smoke clears and air quality improves, people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, pregnant women and children should reduce their time, and avoid when possible, going outside, the advisory said. Everyone else should limit prolonged exertion. When possible:
- Limit exercise and outdoor activities.
- Remain indoors with the windows and doors closed.
- Turn on an air conditioner with a recirculation setting, such as in a vehicle.
Siskiyou County has permanent monitors in Yreka and Mount Shasta and there are numerous portable sensors positioned throughout the areas.
Smoke blows into Northern Midwest
Other states with fires burning have the same problem, Smith said. An air quality advisory is in effect for the entire state of Oregon through Thursday.
Smoke from wildfires in the Western United States has spread, raising pollution levels as far as the Great Lakes region, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
As of Saturday afternoon, wildfire smoke reached as far east as Michigan, according to satellite imagery taken by NWS meteorologists in Maryland and posted on Twitter.
Jessica Skropanic is features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network.