Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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Why is it Smokey in Mendocino County? Because of Wildfires and Dust Storms Raging Across the Pacific

Many Mendocino County residents are noticing the brown haze of smokey skies this afternoon conjuring feelings of fire seasons past.

Do not fear, according to local fire officials, there are no active fires in the region contributing to these skies. In fact, the darkening skies are proof of our globe’s interconnectedness 

As per the National Weather Service in Tuscon, the West Coast of the United States is experiencing the convergence of smoke and dust from across the Pacific Ocean, as described in detail on their Twitter account

The fires in Siberia/Russia [Satellite image from Fire Info for Management System]

The first contributor to the darkening skies is wildfires burning in Siberia and Russia, as seen in this map from Fire Info for Management System. 

A smoke plume from a fire in Siberia/Russia [Satellite image from Fire Info for Management System]

A zoomed-in photo shows a significant smoke plume pouring voluminous smoke into the atmosphere. 

Smoke catching a storm as it approaches the West Coast [Satellite imagery from the National Weather Service]

That smoke, as seen in a satellite photograph from the National Weather Service, is wrapped up in a storm system moving towards the Pacific Coast and spreads out across the Western States as it nears the continent. 

Dust and smoke from the Mongolia/Russia Region [Satellite imagery from the National Weather Service]

Another source of smoke and dust is ongoing fires and dust storms occurring in Mongolia and China. These incidents are elevating the amount of smoke moving into the region.

A map released by the National Weather Service highlighting aerosols in the atmosphere in blue/green/oranges shows a massive amount slouching towards the West Coast, finally settling in our region today.

Purpleair.gov, a website relied upon to provide real-time updates on air quality throughout the United States, shows the North Coast of California all the way to the Oregon/Washington Border with air quality conditions higher than our inland counterparts.

The AQI is elevated along California’s coast and into Oregon

In Trinity Village, the AQI is 101 meaning members of sensitive groups are affected. An air monitor west of Ukiah on Orr Springs Road is reading 91, nearing the “sensitive groups” danger zone. An air quality reader just south of Petaluma is reading 87, once again nearing the “sensitive groups” air quality rating.

We spoke with a National Weather Service meteorologist named Josh Whisnant in the Eureka Office who added that there is also the potential that local, private agricultural burns could also be contributing to our region’s hazy skies.



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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs told.

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