August 2, 2018 – The Public Health Officers for Plumas, Sierra and Nevada County and the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District are extending a joint Air Quality Health Advisory to notify the public of potentially poor air quality conditions through August 6 resulting from various wildfires. Conditions are expected to vary from Good to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, and possibly reach the Unhealthy range in some areas, depending on wind direction and other factors. Forecast breezy conditions could lead to increased fire activity but also periodic clearing. Ozone levels are expected to reach the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range in western Nevada County, especially on Thursday and Friday, exacerbating the health effects of smoke.
Exposure to elevated PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in smoke) concentrations can result in eye and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, congestion, coughing, impaired lung function and chest pain, especially among sensitive individuals such as the elderly, children, people with asthma, people with heart or lung conditions, pregnant women and anyone who is exercising or working hard outdoors.
If you smell or see smoke around you, the following actions are recommended:
- Minimize outdoor activities even if you are healthy;
- Stay indoors with doors and windows closed as much as possible; run the air conditioner on the “recirculate” setting if that is an option;
- People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan;
- People with heart disease, respiratory or chronic health issues should stay indoors;
- Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe fatigue;
- Keep airways moist and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water;
- Avoid breathing additional smoke, such as from cigarettes or barbecues.
Near real-time air quality conditions may be found at www.sparetheair.com (click on “Current Conditions” on the left) or at www.myairdistrict.com (click on “Local Air Quality” in the lower middle portion). As you view the most recent data, take into consideration that conditions can change rapidly due to wind shifts; it is wise to monitor the smoke throughout the day and make plans accordingly.
To sign up for the Air Quality Health Advisory email list, please visit www.myairdistrict.com.