The following information is released jointly by the Air Quality Managment District and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2014
Wildfire Smoke Advisory
The King Fire is creating smoky conditions in some areas of El Dorado County, prompting the County Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and Health and Human Services Agency – Public Health Division to issue an advisory. Officials expect that El Dorado County may continue to be affected on an intermittent basis for quite some time. Smoke conditions can vary a great deal in El Dorado County because of the terrain, wind direction and weather.
Fine particles in smoke can cause health issues, especially for children, older people or those with respiratory problems. “If you see or smell smoke, you should limit outdoor activity,” said Dave Johnston, El Dorado County Air Pollution Control Officer. Residents who see or smell smoke should consider taking the following precautions:
- Healthy people should delay strenuous outdoor exercise until the smoke has cleared.
- Children and older people should consider avoiding outdoor activity, especially prolonged outdoor exercise.
- People with health-related illnesses, particularly those with respiratory problems, should stay indoors.
- Windows and doors should stay closed as much as possible. Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home and car.
- Avoid using non-HEPA paper face mask filters that do not filter extra fine particles.
- Keep airways moist by drinking lots of water.
Wildfire smoke can cause coughing, watery and itchy eyes, and difficulty breathing. People with questionable or severe symptoms should seek medical advice. AQMD has placed air monitoring equipment in the following locations: Pinewood Elementary School in Pollock Pines, El Dorado County Fire Department in Camino, Garden Valley Fire Department in Garden Valley and South Tahoe High School in South Lake Tahoe. Monitoring data is being collected. Air Quality Index (AQI) values derived from this data can be viewed at AirNow’s Wildfires and Air Quality Page: http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=topics.smoke_wildfires. Currently, only the monitor in Camino is visible here, but the site administrators are working on getting all four monitors onto the site. Monitoring information is also available at http://californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com.
Additionally, when there is smoke in the air, the smoke visibility index (below) can help people assess the air quality based on visibility in their area. To assess visibility:
- Face away from the sun. Determine visibility range by looking for targets that are at known distances (miles).
- The visibility range is the distance at which high-contrast objects disappear.
- After determining visibility in miles, use the following Wildfire Smoke Visibility Index to assess air quality.
|VisibilityRange (miles)||Particulate Matter Level(1-hour average, μg/m3)||HealthCategory||Precautions|
|10+||0 – 38||Good||None|
|5 – 10||39 – 88||Moderate||Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.|
|3 – 5||89 – 138||Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups||Sensitive people should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.|
|1.5 – 3||139 – 350||Unhealthy||Sensitive people should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.|
|1 – 1.5||351 – 526||Very Unhealthy||Sensitive people should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.|
|< 1 miles||Over 526||Hazardous||Sensitive people should remain indoors and keep activity levels low. Everyone else should avoid all physical activity outdoors.|
For more information about air quality issues in El Dorado County, visit AQMD’s website at www.edcgov.us/airqualitymanagement. For updates on local fires, contact the CAL FIRE public information line at (530) 647-5218. # # #