Mendocino Air Quality Health Concerns

Mendocino Air Quality Health Concerns

I’m Ed Smith, a Ukiah personal injury lawyer. Due to multiple wildfires that have been raging across Northern California in Solano, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Lake Counties, over 300 people have been reported missing, 31 have lost their lives, and over 3,500 were staying in evacuation centers as of Friday, October 13, 2017.

The wildfires have destroyed thousands of properties, both public and private, and have prompted firefighters and volunteers from all across the western United States to come and aid in combating the fire and help evacuees.

The raging fires have caused many burn injuries and also severely affected the air quality in many cities, including Ukiah.

Dangerous Smoke

Thick smoke clouds from the Redwood Complex fires to the east, north, and south of Ukiah continue to affect the city. Although the Air Quality Index (AQI) has fluctuated somewhat over the past few days, The Mendocino County Air Quality Management District has reported that Ukiah’s AQI has exceeded levels of 171, with levels over 151 meaning health risks to all individuals and severe health risks to highly impacted individuals. Highly impacted individuals include the elderly, children, and people with pre-existing respiratory issues such as asthma and emphysema.

CEO of Mendocino County Carmel Angelo spoke to the public at a press conference on Tuesday, October 12, 2017, saying that the city had ordered breathing masks for residents who want them and stated that the county would notify citizens when the masks arrive.

Health Risks

Throat and eye irritation, coughing, and other breathing difficulties can all be caused by inhaling the heavy smoke concentrations that occur as the result of wildfires. First 5 Mendocino Children’s Center warned citizens that it is unsafe for toddlers and babies to be outside in heavy smoke conditions and that paper masks are not adequate protection from the fine ash in the air.

During times of heavy smoke, individuals have been advised to remain indoors as much as possible to avoid breathing the smoke. Turning on the air conditioning and closing the unit’s intake valve can also help to filter the air in your home. Those without clean air have been advised to seek air-conditioned centers in nearby areas.

Changing Severity

As of Friday, October 13, the smoke had cleared somewhat and breathing levels have been lowered from ‘dangerous to everybody’ to ‘dangerous to at-risk individuals.’ However, winds were expected to pick up over the weekend, meaning the return of thick smoke to the area. Those living in Ukiah and surrounding areas were advised to pay attention to local broadcasts in order to receive current information about air quality as well as evacuation notices should fires draw close to their homes.

School Shut-Down

Due to unhealthy air conditions as well as staff and students who have been affected by the fire, the Ukiah Unified School District closed all of its schools during the week. The district reported that they plan to reopen on Monday, October 16, 2017, but would let families of students know if they needed to extend the closure due to worsening conditions.

Being Prepared

With fires presenting a clear and continuing threat to individuals in Northern California, residents in the area of fires should be prepared for emergency situations. Having bags packed in case of a sudden evacuation, listening to emergency broadcasts, and making sure you are in contact with family are all important.

It is also important to know how to evaluate, care for, and transport individuals with burn injuries in case of an emergency. If you’d like to learn more about these topics, additional information is available on my website.

More from Ed Smith, Ukiah Personal Injury Lawyer

Ukiah Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Ukiah personal injury lawyer. When people are injured by negligent individuals, they are often entitled to compensation. If you or someone you know has been seriously hurt, call (707) 564-1900 to receive my friendly, free advice. If you live outside the area code, you can reach me at (800) 404-5400. You can also get in touch with me on

For over 35 years, I’ve helped Ukiah residents with wrongful death and personal injury claims obtain the repayment that they are owed by law.

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I’m in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a U.S. forum of trial lawyers who’ve obtained verdicts or else negotiated settlements for client cases over $1,000,000 in value.

Read our Past Settlements and Verdicts here. is Northern CA’s best site for info on personal injuries and car accidents.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Fire Smoke by Aaron1a12. GFDL
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