Press release from the Hoopa Valley Tribe:
The Hoopa Valley Tribe declared a State of Emergency on Tuesday, August 18, due to sustained unhealthy air quality conditions resulting from several wildfire complexes burning in Humboldt and Trinity Counties. A clean air facility is available to the community from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 7-days a week, at the Hoopa Neighborhood Facilities. There is also a clean air facility available to senior citizens at the Hoopa Senior Center on Loop Road, open from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Those with a serious risk of respiratory problems may require a medical evaluation for an air filter. Air filter distribution from K’ima:w Medical Center will be decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on the severity of your medical condition. Call K’ima:w Medical Center at (530) 625-4261 for more information. Hoopa OES is working to obtain N95 filtration masks for those required to work outdoors. Although masks are helpful to filter particulate matter, they are not effective at filtering all toxins associated with wildfire smoke. Masks can provide a false sense of security. The precautions listed below should continue to be followed during smoky conditions regardless of mask availability.
As of 4 p.m., August 20, 2015, air quality was classified as UNHEALTHY under the National Air Quality Index. Conditions are expected to range between UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS and HAZARDOUS over the next several days. Conditions were classified VERY UNHEALTHY over a five day average from August 14-19.
Take precautions to relieve yourself and your family from the smoke. Use common sense when participating in outdoor activity. Smoke levels vary depending on fire behavior and weather conditions. Strenuous physical activity should be limited during periods of heavy smoke. The following recommendations currently apply:
- Sensitive people with heart of lung disease, asthma, older adults, small children and infants should remain indoors with windows and doors closed as much as possible.
- If you have air conditioning and/or air filtration in your home and car, it is recommended that you use it.
- Change standard filters to a medium or high efficiency filter. Use the re-circulate or recycle feature if available.
- Do not use fans or swamp coolers that bring smoky outdoor air inside.
- Avoid physical activity outdoors, especially if you are experiencing dizziness, burning eyes, persistent coughing or fatigue. During periods of heavy smoke avoid all outdoor activity.
Call or visit your medical provider if you are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness.
If you don’t have an air filter and/or air conditioner, visit the clean air facility during open hours 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., 7 days per week.
Symptoms that may be related to excess smoke exposure include:
- Repeated coughing
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness or pain
- Nausea or unusual fatigue
If you have any of the above symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Wildfires ignited by lightning storms on July 31 continue to burn with expected containment reaching into October.
The following fires are generating smoke in the Klamath-Trinity river communities, and surrounding counties:
- Mad River Complex
- Humboldt Complex
- Route Complex
- Nickowitz Fire
- Horse Fire
- Gasquet Complex
- South Complex
- River Complex
- Fork Complex
- Rocky Fire
Fire information can be found at www.inciweb.gov
The Hoopa Valley Tribal Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring air quality and particulate matter in Hoopa. Particulate matter concentrations are also being monitored by the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District (NCUAQMD) at the following locations: Crescent City, Gasquet, Orleans, Weitchpec, Hoopa, Willow Creek, Burnt Ranch, Weaverville, Hayfork, Hyampom, Mad River, Eureka and Garberville.
The Hoopa Valley Tribe’s extensive research on the impact of wildfire smoke on the health of the community contributed to the development of the EPA Air Quality Index that classifies air quality conditions on a universal scaled based on particulate matter.
The emergency declaration is paired with a January 2014 Emergency Declaration due to drought. The Public Health Threat Emergency enacts the Tribe’s Emergency Operations Plan and delegates authority of the incident to the Tribe’s Office of Emergency Service (OES). OES has assembled an Incident Management Organization to help manage the Public Health Threat to reduce the impacts of wildfire smoke exposure to the community.
The State of California and Trinity County have declared a state of emergency. Humboldt County is expected to declare a state of emergency in the coming days.