There is currently no air quality advisory in effect for western Nevada County. The following suggestions apply to smoky conditions in general.
If you smell smoke, or see smoke around you, consider restricting your outside activities. Until the smoke dissipates, 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 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. Of course, rubbing one's eyes should be avoided, as that increases irritation.
In general, when smoke concentrations are elevated it is advisable to stay indoors with windows and doors closed and set air-conditioners on “re-circulate.” Try not to run swamp coolers that pull in outside air or whole house fans when it is smoky outdoors.
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 and may even interfere with proper breathing. 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 work/school absences, respiratory related hospital admissions and significant health problems, including aggravated asthma, acute respiratory symptoms (including severe chest pain, gasping, and coughing), chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function and premature death.
A good internet site for current local fire information is www.yubanet.com/CAFires. A satellite view depicting the smoke plume may be available via www.wrh.noaa.gov/sto by clicking “Satellite Imagery” on the left and choosing the “Visible, Western US, 1km Resolution” option. Another useful site is http://inciweb.org/.
Please DO NOT call 911 for information.