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The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District (District) and the Public Health Departments of Nevada, Plumas and Sierra Counties are extending a joint Air Quality Health Advisory due to the prolonged and widespread smoke from numerous wildfires, including the Dixie Fire, the Caldor Fire and others in Northern California. While some areas of the District are experiencing good air quality, other areas that are closer and downwind of the fires continue to experience unhealthy to hazardous air quality, which could persist as long as these wildfires are active. Smoke density and location will vary greatly, depending on fire behavior and weather conditions, with smoke settling in low areas at night.

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. People who are affected by, or susceptible to, COVID-19 may be at increased risk from wildfire smoke due to cardiovascular symptoms or a compromised or suppressed immune system.

If you smell or see smoke around you, the following actions are recommended:

  • Minimize outdoor activities even if you are healthy;
  • Stay inside with doors and windows closed tight, and 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 conditions 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 smoke and air quality conditions for Quincy, Portola, Chester, Truckee and Grass Valley may be found at the Fire and Smoke map: https://fire.airnow.gov/.