Joint air quality advisory issued by Placer County Public Health and the Placer County Air Pollution Control District
Published July 23, 2021
The Placer County Interim Health Officer and Placer County Air Pollution Control District have issued a joint air quality advisory through Sunday, July 25, to notify the public of the intermittent potential for poor air quality conditions from smoke from wildfires in several other northern California counties. Areas of smoke have the potential to affect all of Placer County, dependent upon wind direction.
Poor air quality from wildfire smoke has the potential to cause negative health impacts, particularly for sensitive groups and when exposure is prolonged. 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 at greatest risk of experiencing serious symptoms. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to, coughing, watery and itchy eyes, headache, scratchy throat, and difficulty in breathing.
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
- Non‐HEPA paper face mask filters and bandana-type face coverings may be helpful in reducing the spread of germs and viruses, but they are not capable of filtering out extra fine particulates which are much smaller in size. Therefore, they will not be helpful in protecting individuals from smoke-related impacts. Information on the use of masks and face coverings during smoke impacts can be found here.
Anyone experiencing serious symptoms due to smoke should contact a health professional. Persons who have a respiratory-related illness may also wish to consult their health care provider if they are experiencing smoke exposure.
In addition, today and tomorrow are declared “Spare the Air Days” in the Sacramento region due to anticipated high levels of ozone. Wildfire smoke has the potential to exacerbate those conditions. It is advised that even if wildfire smoke is not impacting your area, any outdoor activity be limited to the morning hours when ozone levels are their lowest. Information on current and forecast ozone levels can be found on www.sparetheair.com.
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 AirNow’s Fire and Smoke webpage at https://fire.airnow.gov which shows particulate matter data from permanent and temporary air monitors along with low-cost sensor data.
Wildfire smoke information can also be found on the District’s website at www.placerair.org.