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Trailhead Fire sparks air quality advisory for Placer County

June 30, 2016

The Placer County Department of Public Health and Placer County Air Pollution Control District are issuing a joint air quality advisory to notify the public of poor air quality conditions primarily due to smoke from the Trailhead Fire in Placer and El Dorado counties. The joint air quality advisory is in effect from June 30 through July 4.

Areas of smoke may affect Placer County from the valley to the North Lake Tahoe area, dependent upon wind direction, until the fire is extinguished. In the evenings, smoke tends to move downhill becoming more concentrated in lower elevation areas including the foothills and the Lake Tahoe Basin. In the afternoon and early evening hours, conditions may improve as smoke rises.

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

Intermittent smoke is likely to affect different parts of the county at different times of the day until the fire is extinguished. Because of this, it is possible for smoke to affect both indoor and outdoor activities. 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 exertion and physical activity;
  • 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 recirculate;
  • Avoid the use of non‐HEPA paper face mask filters, which are not capable of filtering out extra fine particulates.

Anyone experiencing questionable or severe symptoms should contact their doctor 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 www.placer.ca.gov/apcd.

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