Winds from the Camp Fire sweeping through Butte County have forced poor air-quality into the North Bay, creating the all-too-familiar smoky, orange skies and falling ash — unwelcome reminders of October 2017’s wildfires.
“Obviously the smoke is very triggering, and people are out of school,” said Debbie Mason, CEO of Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County.
Air quality in certain areas of the North Bay because of the fire reached levels Friday that public health officials in Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Marin, Mendocino and Lake counties issued advisories about "unhealthy" air in the next 24 hours for new and expectant mothers, children and those with health challenges.
Following last fall’s North Bay wildfires, the foundation partnered with the National Alliance for Mental Health Sonoma County (NAMI) and other associations throughout the entire Bay Area to establish the Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative, which Mason also oversees.
Many free resources are available through the collaborative for anyone feeling triggered by the smoke, news, and images of the Camp Fire and others burning throughout the state:
• Free app: Sonoma Rises, a resource for parents and teens, and those who need help with anxiety, stress, anger and more. A Spanish version is set to launch next week.
• Free bilingual website: mysonomastrong.com provides free resources for people who need help with triggers, anxiety, stress, frustration, anger and more.
• Free yoga classes offered across Sonoma County to release trauma and stress the body is holding. For the schedule, visit namisonomacounty.org or call or text NAMI at 866-960-6264.
• Free bilingual drop-in therapy sessions and individual therapy sessions. Call or text NAMI at 866-960-6264.
• Speakers for groups, clubs or workplaces: call or text NAMI at 866-960-6264.
Mason said she was hiking with friends on a canyon mountain on Thursday and could see smoke from the Camp Fire across the horizon.
“We were very stressed-out ourselves,” she said.
“At times like this, we need to give ourselves permission to seek help and take care of ourselves,” Mason added. “Being able to choose the (best) strategy to help you with what you’re feeling right this minute is very effective to getting immediate assistance.”