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Nevada County Air Advisory


Thursday and Friday, July 12- 13, 2012

Smoke from the Robbers Fire in Placer County will likely be drifting across parts of western Nevada County on Thursday and Friday.  At times, the smoke may be dense, especially in the southern part of the County during the early morning hours.  In the late morning and afternoon hours, smoke is likely to spread over much of western Nevada County as daytime winds carry it toward the northeast and toward higher elevations.

There is also the potential for elevated ozone levels on Thursday and Friday.  While western Nevada County has not yet experienced an exceedance of the federal ozone air quality standard this year, the combination of ozone precursors (NOx and VOCs) from the Robbers Fire, emissions in the Sacramento area, winds out of the southwest and high daytime temperatures could easily push western Nevada County’s ozone concentration into the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range.

Therefore, the Air District is issuing an advisory for elevated smoke and ozone levels to occur at various times on Thursday and Friday.

If you smell smoke, or see smoke around you, consider restricting your outside activities.  Until the present conditions improve, individuals should consider taking the following actions:

Healthy people should delay strenuous exercise, particularly when they can smell smoke.

Children and elderly people should consider avoiding outdoor activities, particularly prolonged outdoor exertion.

People with health-related illnesses, particularly asthma and respiratory problems, should remain indoors. Asthmatics should follow their asthma management plan.

Contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue.  This is important for not only people with chronic lung or heart disease, but also for individuals who have not been previously diagnosed with such illnesses. Smoke can “unmask” or produce symptoms of such diseases. Keep airways moist by drinking lots of water. Breathing through a warm, wet washcloth can also help relieve dryness.

In general, when smoke and ozone concentrations are elevated it is advisable to stay indoors with windows and doors closed and set air-conditioners on “re-circulate.”  Do not run swamp coolers or whole house fans.

Disposable particulate respirators found at hardware stores can be effective at reducing exposure to smoke particles as long as they seal closely to the wearer’s face. Look for respirators that have two straps and have the words “NIOSH” and either “P100” or “N95” printed on the filter material.

Warning: particulate respirators will not provide complete protection in very smoky conditions. It should also be noted that there is some controversy surrounding the use of particulate respirators because of the many variables that may hinder their proper use.

When feasible, pets should be brought indoors when outdoor air quality is poor.

Studies have linked fine particulate matter (smoke) with significant health problems, including work and school absences, respiratory related hospital admissions, aggravated asthma, acute respiratory symptoms (including severe chest pain, gasping, and aggravated coughing), chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, and premature death.


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