UPDATE: Smoke from Red Salmon Complex May Impact Air Quality


  • Six Rivers National Forest

The Red Salmon Complex remains at 4,284 acres, burning within the Trinity Alps Wilderness on the Six Rivers and Shasta-Trinity National Forests, according to an evening update.

The Salmon Fire portion is now at 7 percent containment.


Smoke from the more than 4,200 acre Red Salmon Complex — which includes the Red and Salmon fires — may affect air quality in some Humboldt communities, according to a release from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District.

Orleans is expected to be in the “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” zone, with periods of “Unhealthy” possible in morning and evening hours. Weitchpec and Hoopa are forecast to be “Good” to “Moderate” with periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” possible in the evening and early morning hours. Areas along the coast are expected to be in the “Good” range with the possibility of “Moderate” conditions in the early mornings and later in the evening.

According to today’s fire update, the larger Red Fire at 3,536 acres remains at zero containment while the smaller Salmon Fire is 5 percent contained.

Read the Red Salmon Complex update below:

Current Situation: The Red Salmon Complex is 4,284 acres and 5% contained while burning within the Trinity Alps Wilderness on the Six Rivers and Shasta-Trinity National Forests. Today, firefighters will use direct containment strategies and strengthen indirect lines in the wilderness using minimum impact suppression techniques while continuing to work with resource advisors to avoid disturbance to cultural resources.

Firefighters are opening previously constructed control lines from past fires outside the wilderness as contingency lines. California Interagency Incident Management Team 14 continues to make COVID-19 precautions a priority at all incident camps with daily temperature screenings of personnel and implementing measures such as wearing face coverings and social distancing to prevent coronavirus spread. Community and firefighter safety are a top priority of both the incident management team and the national forests.

The Red Fire is 3,536 acres and 0% contained. The fire is backing in most areas with some small group torching and short, terrain-driven runs. Last night, firing operations could not be conducted because of high relative humidity. Firing operations will be attempted today along the Lubbs Trail and the 10N01 road to connect burn operations along the north flank, further reducing fuels along the indirect fireline making it more secure as fire approaches.

The Salmon Fire is 748 acres and 5% contained. The fire had little growth yesterday, but the south flank is still the most active. Today, firefighters will continue direct fireline on the southwest flank from Backbone Ridge down to Eightmile Creek with the goal of tying those two lines in tonight or tomorrow. Firefighters will further strengthen lines along Salmon Summit Ridge and continue hose lays from Salmon Summit Ridge down towards Eightmile Creek. Current weather and past fire footprints are helping to reduce the fire spread at this time.

Weather: Cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity will persist through the day making direct fireline constructions easier, however, firing operations harder to accomplish on the north flank. A drying trend is expected to begin tonight and continue through the weekend.

Air quality: An air quality monitoring specialist is providing daily smoke forecasts and air quality information for the surrounding communities. Refer to fires.airfire.org/outlooks/NWCalifornia. Closures: Big Rock River Access has been closed in the interest of public safety as it is being used as a dip site for helicopter operations in the fire suppression efforts on the Red Salmon Complex.

Read the full NCUAQMD release below: 
The Red Salmon Complex continues to be active in the far Northwest corner of Trinity County in the Wilderness. The Red Salmon Complex is at 4,284 acres with 5% containment. The remote and steep terrain continues to hamper containment efforts by firefighters.

Smoke dispersion is expected to be localized around the fire and into the river drainages during the night and morning hours. Offshore winds will bring warmer temperatures and direr air. Depending on proximity and fire activity, smoke impacts are predicted for portions of Eastern Humboldt and Del Norte County, and Northern Trinity County.

• Humboldt County - Coastal areas are expected to remain “Good” with periods of “Moderate” possible during the early morning and nighttime hours. Orleans expected to be “Moderate” to “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” with periods of “Unhealthy” possible in morning and nighttime hours. Weitchpec, and Hoopa are forecast to be “Good” to “Moderate” with periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” possible in the evening and early morning hours.:

• Trinity County - Trinity County is forecast to see “Good” to “Moderate” conditions with periods of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” depending on proximity and fire activity.

• Del Norte County - Coastal areas are expected to remain “Good’ with periods of “Moderate” possible during early morning and nighttime hours. Gasquet and Eastern Del Norte County are forecast to see “Good” to “Moderate”.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) monitors are presently in Crescent City, Eureka, and Weaverville. Updates will be provided as conditions change. For 24-hour Air Quality Advisory Information, call toll-free at 1-866-BURN-DAY (1-866-287-6329).

Fire information can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ or https://fire.airnow.gov/. Current weather information can be found at www.wrh.noaa.gov.  

Health Information for Smoke Impacts Concentrations of smoke may vary depending upon location, weather, and distance from the fire. Smoke from wildfires and structure fires contain harmful chemicals that can affect your health. Smoke can cause eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

People who are at greatest risk of experiencing symptoms due to smoke include: those with respiratory disease (such as asthma), those with heart disease, young children, and older adults. These sensitive populations should stay indoors and avoid prolonged activity. All others should limit prolonged or heavy activity and time spent outdoors. Even healthy adults can be affected by smoke.

Seek medical help if you have symptoms that worsen or become severe. If you can see, taste, or feel smoke, contact your local health department and/or primary healthcare provider. This is especially important if you have health concerns, are elderly, are pregnant, or have a child in your care.

Follow these general precautions to protect your health during a smoke event: • Minimize or stop outdoor activities, especially exercise. • Stay indoors with windows and doors closed as much as possible. • Do not run fans that bring smoky outdoor air inside – examples include swamp coolers, whole-house fans, and fresh air ventilation systems. • Run your air-conditioner only if it does not bring smoke in from the outdoors. Change the standard air conditioner filter to a medium or high efficiency filter. If available, use the “re-circulate” or “recycle” setting on the unit. • Do not smoke, fry food, or do other things that will create indoor air pollution.

If you have lung disease (including asthma) or heart disease, closely monitor your health and contact your doctor if you have symptoms that worsen. Consider leaving the area until smoke conditions improve if you have repeated coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea, unusual fatigue, lightheadedness.

Updated guidance from the CDC is available on reducing wildfire smoke exposure given COVID-19 considerations: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/covid-19/reduce_exposure_to_wildfire_smoke_covid-19.html

For 24-hour Air Quality Advisory Information, call toll-free at 1-866-BURN-DAY (1-866-287-6329). For further information, visit the District’s website at www.ncuaqmd.org

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