Smoke from more than a dozen fires burning North and East of Humboldt County have prompted officials to declare a local health emergency and spurred the opening of multiple temporary clean air centers.
“Smoke is basically condensed, fine particulate matter that gets trapped in the lungs and upper airway, leading to acute inflammation that can have lasting health effects,” said Dr. Donald Baird, Humboldt County Health Officer. “Give your lungs a break. Use a clean air center or other indoor area with air conditioning.”
As of Tuesday, five clean air centers have opened, including two in Willow Creek and one each in Orleans, Weitchpec and Hoopa. A sixth center, in Eureka, will open tomorrow.
The centers are for day use only. Residents are strongly urged to utilize the center closest to them. The center in Eureka will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., from Wednesday September 6 through Tuesday, September 12. Please contact the other centers for their hours of operation.
Center locations and contact information are as follows:
Karuk Senior Center
459 Asip Road
Orleans, CA 95556
Yurok Tribal Office
Weitchpec, CA 95546
Hoopa Neighborhood Facility
Hoopa, CA 95546
Willow Creek Community Resource Center
38883 Highway 299
Willow Creek, CA 95573
Six Rivers Medical Center
850 State Highway 96
Willow Creek CA 95573
Eureka Main Library
1313 3rd St.
Eureka, CA 95501
“It’s not just the smoke but also the heat,” Dr. Baird said. He advised drinking plenty of water, using fans to cool down and staying out of direct sunlight.
The temporary center in Eureka is currently authorized for seven days. At the end of that period, it will be either reauthorized or closed, depending on need. The county is also providing support to tribal and community clean air centers, when possible.
“Air quality is expected to improve at the coast, but smoke conditions will persist inland until the fires are out,” said Dorie Lanni, Emergency Services Manager for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. “This year has been especially bad, with unhealthy to hazardous levels in more areas for longer periods. We hope our efforts help provide relief to those who need it.”
To learn how to protect your family from wildfire smoke, visit the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District’s web page dedicated to the topic.
For additional information, please contact the Public Health Branch of the Department of Health & Human Services at 707-445-6200 or toll free at 855-707-WELL (9355).