The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District and the Plumas County Public Health Agency are issuing a joint Air Quality Health Advisory to notify the public of potentially poor air quality conditions at least through September 12, 2019 resulting from the Walker Fire and possibly other Northern California fires. Most of the smoke is expected to travel to the northeast, but at times it could settle into the Indian Valley and possibly reach the communities of Quincy, Chester and Portola. Conditions are expected to vary from Good throughout most of the county to Unhealthy near the fire and in the smoke plume, depending on wind direction and other factors.
Exposure to elevated PM2.5 (fine particulate matter in smoke) concentrations can result in eye and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, congestion, coughing, impaired lung function and chest pain, especially among sensitive individuals such as the elderly, children, people with asthma, people with heart or lung conditions, pregnant women and anyone who is exercising or working hard outdoors.
If you smell or see smoke around you, the following actions are recommended:
- Minimize outdoor activities even if you are healthy;
- Stay indoors with doors and windows closed as much as possible; run the air conditioner on the “recirculate” setting if that is an option;
- People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan;
- People with heart disease, respiratory or chronic health issues should stay indoors;
- Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe fatigue;
- Keep airways moist and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water;
- Avoid breathing additional smoke, such as from cigarettes or barbecues.
Near real-time air quality conditions for Quincy, Portola and Chester may be found at www.myairdistrict.com (click on your location of interest in the “Local Air Quality” portion). As you view the most recent data, take into consideration that conditions can change rapidly due to wind shifts; it is wise to monitor the smoke throughout the day and make plans accordingly. The smoke may be visible in satellite imagery, available via www.weather.gov/sto (near the bottom of the page).
To sign up for the Air Quality Health Advisory email list, please visit www.myairdistrict.com.
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