Extended Air Quality Report August 18, 2013
Incident: Salmon River Complex Wildfire
Extended Air quality report August 18, 2013
The GOES image reveals smoke from the northern California fires is under the influence of northeast transport winds. Pushing smoke off shore, moving south, in the circulation of the cut off low. As note the American fire smoke is spreading in all directions, but the southerly winds pushing the main plume to the north.
Figure 1 GOES imagery 8/18/2013 0900
Data from air quality monitors continues to correlate fairly well with BlueSky model predictions.Smoke impacts from the northerly winds have not been as significant as expected as smoke has remained aloft while under northerly influence. The only communities to see significant smoke impacts over the past 24 hours were Sawyers Bar and Forks of Salmon (Figure 2).
Figure 2 3-hour average fine particulate (PM 2.5) concentration with corresponding Air Quality Index (AQI) health hazard ratings and adjectives.
Fire Personnel Health Notice
Air quality has improved in Sawyers Bar and Forks of Salmon over the past 24 hours, with periods of clearing in the moderate AQI range. However, afternoon impacts continue to reach very unhealthy levels and consideration should be given to the level of long-term exposure fire personnel are experiencing. The 24-hour average has remained in the very unhealthy to hazardous range for the past 5 days (Figure 3).
Figure 3 Rolling 24-hour average fine particulate (PM 2.5) concentration with corresponding AQI health hazard rating and adjective.
BlueSky Model Data:
Noticeable smoke haze this morning is wider-spread than BlueSky shows , with smoke being transported off the coast. The communities south of the fires—Butler, Corral complex, and Salmon complex—will see moderate to unhealthy for sensitive group AQI levels. The exception is Willow Creek, which will not be as impacted. Smoke drifting out the Salmon River drainage will affect Somes Bar and Orleans. Seida Valley and Happy Camp will experience light haze, with minimal impacts.
Figure 4 BlueSky model 8/18/2013 0600
Over the next few days Northeast transport winds push smoke to the south southwest. Surface smoke will drain into the Salmon River, New River, and South Fork of the Salmon drainages, affecting communities in those areas. By early afternoon when the fires become active, the smoke plumes will move to the South to southwest, due to the northerly transport winds.
Figure 5 BlueSky model 08/18/2013 1300
Monday morning, smoke from the Oregon fires are apparent in northwest California. Somes Bar, Orleans, Weitchpec, Hoopa are going to see early morning surface smoke from the moderate to unhealthily for sensitive groups range. Air quality in Etna, Ft. Jones and Yreka in the early morning hours will be better than the previous morning.
Figure 6 BlueSky model 08/19/2013 0600
A slight shift in the wind direction to the northeast in the afternoon will transport the smoke plumes over Hoopa and Willow Creek, with Blue Lake on the fringe of the plume. A delay in the afternoon smoke impact in Etna, Ft. Jones will occur because of the northerly transport winds, but smoke will roll in late afternoon or early evening, with PM concentrations in the moderate range.
Figure 7 BlueSky model 08/19/2013 1300
BlueSky modeling shows Ft Jones and Etna clearing early Tuesday morning as the cut off low moves landward. With the center of the low located near Monterey and the top quadrant, over northern California, strong easterly transport winds will help clean out Etna and Ft. Jones. Hoopa, however, may have AQI levels in the moderate range, but should clear by early afternoon, as will many communities affected by the fires smoke. The low will pass east of Yreka by Thursday increasing atmospheric instability and the chance of rain.
Figure 8 BlueSky model 08/19/0600