Fires in Oregon have made for smoky conditions for inland Del Norte County residents, bringing back memories of the 2002 Biscuit Fire for some.
Jane Christmas, a weather spotter for the National Weather Service who lives near Gasquet’s Ward Field, said Monday that smoke has obscured her view to the northwest and of Signal Peak west of the community.
“The sun has not looked like the sun. It’s a little orange ball,” she said. “And on Saturday, I looked at it as the sun was setting and it was fire engine red. I haven’t seen that ever.”
This isn’t the first time wildfire smoke has painted the sun over Gasquet orange, Christmas said.
“During the Biscuit Fire it was orange,” she said. “(The fire) came down in this direction within a mile and a half of the houses here.”
Conditions similar to those in 2002 have ignited a fire in the same area of the Biscuit Fire in Josephine County, Ore., the Medford Mail Tribune reported. Snags left from the Biscuit Fire are falling and igniting the brush that has grown in the past decade.
Meanwhile, ash has occasionally been falling as far west as Crescent City.
The Labrador Fire is burning in steep terrain and there’s potential for explosive growth, fire spokeswoman Virginia Gibbs told the Tribune. The Labrador Fire was estimated at 700 acres as of Sunday night.
In Douglas County, Ore., dozens of fires caused by lightning have burned 13,400 acres or nearly 21 square miles, according to the Associated Press. Officials have advised residents of 75 houses in southwest Oregon to evacuate.
Flames from the Douglas County fires are within a mile of some houses, and more than 40 homes are on evacuation alert.
In Del Norte and Humboldt counties, north winds and coastal breezes have helped keep the smoke higher in the atmosphere, but inland the smoke has become trapped in the river valleys and canyons, said Alex Dodd, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. But a trough of low pressure coming into the Pacific Northwest within the next 24 to 48 hours should bring southerly winds that will push that smoke back over the Oregon border, he said.
“We’ll probably be seeing more improvements in the haze by Tuesday afternoon,” Dodd said. “There will be one more morning of this and by the time people are waking up Wednesday morning, hopefully there will be some improvement. Certainly Wednesday during the day, as the trough works its way in here, visibility will improve dramatically.”
The smoke has affected the air in Crescent City, but not enough for the North Coast Air Quality Management District to issue an advisory, said Air Pollution Control Officer Rick Martin. The air quality in Crescent City is still in the good category, he said.
There is no air pollution monitor in inland Del Norte County, Martin said.
“The advice to give to people would be that if you currently have some kind of breathing difficulty or breathing disorder, take whatever precautions you would normally take,” he said. “Stay inside as much as possible.”
The Air Quality Management District will post advisories on its website at www.ncuaqmd.org. Residents can also call the district’s office in Eureka at 707-443-3093.