Redding getting smoke from North State wildfires

·2 min read
Smoke and haze stock image
Smoke and haze stock image

Smoke blanketing the Redding area on Saturday was coming from wildfires burning to the west and north.

The Six Rivers Lightning Complex is burning to the west in the Willow Creek area while to the north, the McKinney and Yeti blazes are still smoldering in western Siskiyou County.

Residents wondering where the smoke was coming from have been calling the SHASCOM dispatch center.

"We have been receiving a high amount of calls reporting heavy smoke in the Redding area. There are not currently any active fires in Shasta County or the city of Redding," SHASCOM said on Facebook.

The Shasta-Trinity unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection also reported smoke from the lightning complex was visible toward the west.

Redding residents could smell clouds of smoke rolling in Friday evening.

"It looks like the smoke has gotten worse since Friday night. It does look like it's getting worse now," meteorologist Sierra Littlefield of the Sacramento office of the National Weather Service said Saturday morning.

What's more, the air in parts of western and southwestern Redding were in the unhealthy categories Saturday morning, Littlefield said.

This weekend is probably not a good time to visit or go hiking in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area due to the smoke.

"As you get toward Whiskeytown reservoir, it's definitely worse. There's some areas that are in the very unhealthy categories," Littlefield said.

The Wildfire Viewer by Enplan shows smoke being blown into Redding and the northern Sacramento Valley from wildfires to the west and north on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.
The Wildfire Viewer by Enplan shows smoke being blown into Redding and the northern Sacramento Valley from wildfires to the west and north on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022.

An interactive Wildfire Viewer map by Enplan shows the wind blowing in from the west where the lightning-caused fires are burning, but also from the far north in Siskiyou County.

"The smoke is originating from the fires that we're seeing along the coastal range there in northwest California," Littlefield said.

She said the wind direction funneling into the northern Sacramento Valley is typical of a summertime pattern known as drainage flows.

"Essentially in those little valleys and such in the mountains, the smoke will essentially kind of follow those along into the Redding area," Littlefield said.

A small uptick in the wind later Saturday was expected to partially disperse the smoke, but it's likely to return Saturday night and Sunday.

"By Saturday evening, it does look like the potential for some smoke to kind of roll into the area and it's going to happen again overnight and into the morning," Littlefield said. "It's probably going to pretty smoky again Sunday."

On top of the smoke, the weather service has issued an excessive heat watch for Redding. The watch is for Tuesday morning through Thursday evening as temperatures are expected to reach 108.

Mike Chapman is an award-winning reporter and photographer for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Wash. Support local journalism by subscribing today.

This article originally appeared on Redding Record Searchlight: Redding getting smoke from North State wildfires