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August 17, 2020 – The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District and the Public Health Agencies of Plumas and Sierra Counties are issuing a joint Air Quality Health Advisory to notify the public of the possibility of poor air quality conditions through at least August 20, 2020 resulting from numerous wildfires, including the Loyalton Fire in eastern Sierra County. Loyalton, Portola and surrounding communities are especially likely to be affected.  Air quality is expected to vary greatly throughout the advisory period 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 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 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.

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Near real-time air quality conditions for Quincy, Portola, Chester, Truckee and Grass Valley may be found at www.myairdistrict.com (click on your location of interest in the “Local Air Quality” 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.  The smoke may be visible in satellite imagery, available via www.weather.gov/sto (near the bottom of the page).

Additional information about air quality can be found on the following website:
https://fire.airnow.gov/

Smoke mapping can be found at:  https://fire.airnow.gov/