Air quality advisory for Thursday, Nov. 14, through Saturday, Nov. 16

Published on November 14, 2019

The Placer County Public Health Office and Placer County Air Pollution Control District are issuing a joint air quality advisory due to smoke impacts from an authorized 19-acre prescribed under-burn at Burton Creek State Park, Tahoe City, on Nov. 13.  This advisory is from today, Nov. 14, through Saturday, Nov. 16.

The under-burn was conducted by California State Parks with smoke impacts occurring in Tahoe City and other North Lake Tahoe areas. The highest air quality readings of smoke, based on the air district’s air quality monitor located within Tahoe City, peaked around midnight last night and have steadily declined throughout the day today as smoke has dispersed. In general, as mop-up operations by fire personnel continue today, it is anticipated that smoke levels will improve, although there may continue to be residual overnight smoke.

Prescribed burning is used as a vegetation management tool in order to reduce the risk of wildfire, protect local communities from wildfires and improve forest resilience. Prescribed fires typically burn less intensely than wildfires, produce less smoke overall and are shorter in duration than a wildfire, which can last for days or even weeks.

Despite the benefits of prescribed burning, factors such as elevation, the shape of the terrain, and colder night-time temperatures often impact the way smoke moves and its effect on the Lake Tahoe Basin. Therefore, those exposed to smoke should take precautions and use common sense to reduce any harmful health effects by limiting outdoor activities and exposure.

If smoke is in your area, consider avoiding strenuous outdoor activity and remaining indoors with windows and doors shut. These precautions are especially important for children, older adults and those with heart and lung conditions. Symptoms of smoke exposure can include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest tightness or pain, nausea and unusual fatigue or lightheadedness. Use caution when driving near prescribed burns.

Anyone experiencing severe or concerning symptoms should seek medical care.