The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District and the Public Health Department of Nevada County are issuing a Joint Air Quality Health Advisory due to smoke impacts from the Mosquito Fire in Placer and El Dorado Counties, CA.  Smoke impacts could result in poor air quality conditions and could vary throughout the day.  Air quality conditions change rapidly, and smoke may be intermittent and affect different areas dependent upon wind direction and time of day.  For the most recent Smoke Forecast for your area please see:

Poor air quality has the potential to cause negative health impacts, particularly for sensitive groups and when exposure is prolonged.  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:

  • Stay indoors.  Minimize outdoor activities even if you are considered healthy. Those with health-related illnesses, particularly breathing problems, should remain indoors. Follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommendations for creating a clean air space in your home see:
  • Snug fitting N95 masks are effective in protecting the wearer from smoke particles. Re-use of N95 masks may reduce effectiveness and make breathing more difficult. Surgical and cloth masks are not effective in protecting against smoke damage to the lungs due to the very small particle size.
  • Medical care. If you experience chest pain, chest tightness or shortness of breath, seek medical care immediately.
  • Adjust AC to avoid drawing in smoky air.   If you have a central air conditioning system in your home, set it to “re-circulate” or close outdoor air intakes. Change your air filter on a regular basis.
  • Reduce other sources of indoor air pollutionSmoking cigarettes, using gas, propane and wood-burning stoves and furnaces, spraying aerosol products, frying or broiling meat, burning candles and incense, and vacuuming can all increase particle levels in a home and should be avoided when wildfire smoke is present.
  • Reduce physical activity to reduce inhalation of smoky air. During exercise, people can increase their air intake as much as 20 times from their resting level.
  • Avoid getting ash into the air as much as possible. Avoiding sweeping ash up dry, use water and wet cloth/mop to clean items and surfaces. Wear a well-fitting respirator mask, gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants when cleaning up ash. Avoid skin contact. If you do get ash on your skin, wash it off immediately. Some wet ash can cause chemical burns. HEPA filter vacuums could be used, if available.  

Real-time air quality conditions for the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District may be found at (click on your location of interest under “Local Air Quality”). 

Additional information about air quality can be found on the following website: