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AUBURN, Calif. — Placer County Health and Human Services and the Placer County Air Pollution Control District are issuing a joint air quality advisory through Tuesday, July 26, 2022, to notify the public of the potential to have poor air quality conditions from smoke from the Oak Fire in Mariposa County. This fire is south of Placer County with smoke drifting up into our area.

Wildfire smoke may be intermittent and affect different areas of Placer County with elevated levels of particulate matter dependent upon wind direction. Poor air quality has the potential to cause negative health impacts, particularly for sensitive groups and when exposure is prolonged.

Information on air quality and smoke can be found AirNow’s Fire and Smoke webpage at https://fire.airnow.gov which shows data from permanent and temporary particulate  monitors along with low-cost sensors; www.sparetheair.com will show daily air quality forecasts.

Smoke contains very tiny particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs. While all people may experience varying degrees of symptoms, more sensitive individuals – such as the young, aged and those with respiratory conditions – are at greatest risk of experiencing serious symptoms. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to, coughing, watery and itchy eyes, headache, scratchy throat, and difficulty in breathing.

If you can see or smell smoke, avoid all unnecessary outdoor activities, especially if you are in an area where visibility is greatly reduced.

Here are recommended ways to reduce your smoke exposure:

  • Stay indoors with the windows and doors closed; if possible, run the air conditioner on the “recirculation” setting
  • Limit outdoor physical activity
  • Leave the smoke-impacted areas if possible until conditions improve
  • Reduce unnecessary driving. If traveling through smoke-impacted areas, be sure that your vehicle’s ventilation system is on recirculate
  • Non‐HEPA paper face mask filters and bandana-type face coverings may be helpful in reducing the spread of germs and viruses, but they are not capable of filtering out extra fine smoke particulates which are much smaller in size. Therefore, they will not be helpful in protecting individuals from smoke-related impacts. Information on the use of masks and face coverings during smoke impacts can be found here.

Anyone experiencing serious symptoms due to smoke should contact a health professional. Persons who have a respiratory-related illness may also wish to consult their health care provider if they are experiencing smoke exposure. Air quality can change rapidly at different times during the day due to wind shifts;  monitor smoke throughout the day and make outdoor plans accordingly.

Smoke information can also be found on the District’s website at https://www.placerair.org/8126/Smoke.