The Nevada County Public Health Officer and the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District are issuing a joint air quality health advisory to notify the public of potentially poor air quality conditions through this weekend resulting mainly from the North Fire in Placer County. Conditions are expected to vary widely from Good to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, reaching the Unhealthy range in some areas, depending on wind direction, fire behavior and other factors. Smoke is expected to settle in the Truckee area at night and occasionally be carried directly from the fire during the daytime if winds are from the west.
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 to reduce your exposure; 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 online at Spare the Air – Air Quality Information for the Sacramento Region or on Northern Sierra Air Quality District’s website. 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.