The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has declared a state of emergency after 250,000 birds at two local poultry farms had to be euthanized following a bird flu outbreak last week.

The avian influenza outbreak was detected Friday during an investigation by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Safety Laboratory System, county officials said in a news release.

According to the county, the locations of the commercial farms where the flu was detected have been quarantined.

The emergency declaration, announced Tuesday, allows the county to access additional public safety and emergency services, including assistance for businesses that are harmed by the outbreak.

“The impact is not just on the businesses themselves. One employs 150 employees and the other employs about 70 to 80 people.”

Supervisor David Rabbitt

Sonoma County is one of four counties in California where avian flu has been detected in commercial poultry flocks this year.

Supervisor David Rabbitt had concerns about any financial repurcussions that the emergency might have on the entire agricultural community in the county, saying that there are currently one-million farm birds within five miles of one of the infected facilities. Should disease spread, he questioned its impact on the West Coast food chain.

“The impact is not just on the businesses themselves,” said Rabbitt in a release sent out by the county. “One employs 150 employees and the other employs about 70 to 80 people.”

The state of emergency could assist any displaced workers, he said.

People or companies with flocks that have experienced any unusual or suspicious illness or deaths should call the CDFA’s Sick Bird Hotline at 866-922-2473.

Kiley Russell writes primarily for Pagransen on issues related to equity and the environment. A Bay Area native, he has lived most of his life in Oakland. He studied journalism at San Francisco State University, worked for the Associated Press and the former Contra Costa Times, among other outlets. He has covered everything from state legislatures, local governments, federal and state courts, crime, growth and development, political campaigns of various stripes, wildfires and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.