Air Quality

Placer County Public Health & Placer County Air Pollution Control District

AUBURN, Calif. – The Placer County Health Officer and Placer County Air Pollution Control District are issuing a joint air quality advisory to notify the public of the potential for poor air quality conditions primarily due to smoke from the Loyalton Fire in Sierra and Plumas counties and from various lightning-caused fires around the state.

Roseville sky
8-19-20 in Roseville

Areas of smoke may affect Placer County from the foothills up into the Lake Tahoe area, dependent upon wind direction, until the fires are extinguished. In the evenings, smoke tends to move downhill, becoming more concentrated in lower elevation areas including the foothills and the Lake Tahoe region. In the afternoon and early evening hours, conditions may improve as smoke rises.

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 more aggravated 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.

5 recommended ways to reduce your smoke exposure

  1. Stay indoors with the windows and doors closed, if possible, run the air conditioner on the “recirculation” setting
  2. Limit outdoor exertion and physical activity
  3. Leave the smoke-impacted areas until conditions improve, if possible
  4. Reduce unnecessary driving. If traveling through smoke-impacted areas, be sure that your vehicle’s ventilation system is on recirculate
  5. 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.

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.

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 updated 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 and also on www.sparetheair.com.

Wildfire smoke information can also be found on the District’s website at www.placerair.org.