The Placer County Air Pollution Control District (District) is celebrating Air Quality Awareness Week from May 2 – 6. The U.S. EPA will recognize the District on May 2nd for its work with wildfire and smoke preparedness and public outreach. This year’s theme is Be Air Aware & Prepared, with each day featuring a new topic on how to prepare for and stay safe during periods of poor air quality.
5/2, Monday – Wildfires & Smoke
5/3, Tuesday – Asthma & Your Health
5/4, Wednesday – Citizen Science & Sensors
5/5, Thursday – Environmental Justice & Air Quality
5/6, Friday – Air Quality Around the World
The AQAW website (https://www.airnow.gov/aqaw/) will launch on May 2nd with an inaugural article featuring the District’s work to reduce smoke impacts to the community during the wildfire season. The article, written by both District and EPA staff, provides a variety of resources for the public to learn about smoke impacts in their area. The article highlights the EPA’s Fire and Smoke Map, the California Smoke Blog (which the District created and manages), and air quality advisories issued by the District. These tools play a role in raising awareness and providing information to help protect public health when smoke impacts an area.
On May 2nd, the District will “Raise the Flag” and join the EPA’s Air Quality Flag Program. Each day the District will raise a brightly colored flag outside the office at 110 Maple St. in Auburn, CA. The flag color corresponds to the EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is a reporting tool for air quality. The color categories correspond to different levels of pollution and health risks:
A higher AQI indicates higher levels of pollution and a greater health risk. The goal of the Program is to help people continue to exercise and work outside while protecting their health when the air quality is unhealthy.
As we enter ozone and wildfire season, it is important to check the AQI daily and adjust your outdoor activities as needed. When the flag is green, yellow, or orange, it’s a good day to be active outside, but children and people sensitive to air pollution should watch for symptoms on orange days. When the flag is red or purple, outdoor activities should be limited to protect your health.
To check your local air quality or learn more about the Air Quality Index, visit https://www.airnow.gov/
If your organization would like to participate in the Flag Program, visit https://www.airnow.gov/air-quality-flag-program/