Placer County, CA August 19, 2013 – The Placer County Public Health Officer and Placer County Air Pollution Control District are re-issuing a joint countywide Air Quality Advisory to notify the public of continuing poor air quality conditions due to smoke from the American Fire 10 miles northeast of Foresthill. The Foresthill area is impacted most severely by smoke from the fire.
These widespread smoky conditions will continue to affect Placer County from the valley to the Lake Tahoe area, depending upon the wind direction, until the fire is extinguished.
In Foresthill and other foothill areas, air quality is worse in the later evening, with clearing in the early afternoon. While the weather pattern is expected to change, with thundershowers and possible rain in the next couple of days, it is unclear how that will affect the smoke from the fire.
Foresthill area residents are advised to stay indoors, keep doors and windows closed, and limit their physical activities from the late evening hours through the early afternoon.
In general, if you can see or smell smoke, try to avoid all unnecessary outdoor activities.
Here are recommended ways to reduce your smoke exposure:
- Limit outdoor exertion and physical activity
- If you have air conditioning, run the air conditioner on the “recirculation” setting
- Leave the smoke-impacted areas until conditions improve, if possible
- Reduce unnecessary driving. If traveling through smoke-impacted areas, be sure that your vehicle’s ventilation system is on re-circulate
- Avoid the use of non‐HEPA paper face mask filters, which are not capable of filtering out extra fine particulates
Wearing a special mask called a “particulate respirator” can help protect your lungs from wildfire smoke. Choose a particulate respirator which has the word “NIOSH” and either “N95” or “P100” printed on it. These can be found at hardware stores or pharmacies and can be effective at reducing exposure to smoke particles as long as the respirators seal closely to the wearer’s face. It is important to know that these particulate respirators will not provide complete protection and may even interfere with proper breathing.
While all persons may experience varying degrees of symptoms, the more sensitive individuals, such as the young, aged and those with respiratory conditions are of greatest risk at experiencing more aggravated symptoms. These may include, but are not limited to coughing, watery and itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and difficulty in breathing.
Persons experiencing questionable or severe symptoms should contact their doctors if they have any questions.
Keep in mind that air quality can change rapidly at different times during the day due to wind shifts; therefore, it is important to monitor the smoke throughout the day in your area and make outdoor plans accordingly.
Information on air quality and smoke can be found at California Department of Public Health or Placer County Air Pollution Control District or Spare The Air. The Spare the Air website is a useful site to monitor current air quality values.