Air alert: avoid outdoors |

Air alert: avoid outdoors

Outdoor activity should be avoided today because of heavy smoke from fires surrounding Nevada County according to the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District in Grass Valley.

“The air district is recommending that all outdoor activities be canceled immediately until conditions improve considerably,” the district announced at 9:15 a.m.

“As a general rule of thumb consider this: If you see smoke and smell smoke, you are most likely breathing unhealthy levels of particulate,” the district said. “The more smoke you see and smell, the higher the unhealthy levels of particulate.”

“This is the worst we’ve ever seen it,” for particulate levels since the district started measuring air quality 15 years ago, said employee Joe Fish.

“We’ve never seen the numbers this high, it’s almost 400 micrograms per cubic meter,” and the hazardous level is 260.

Ozone levels have also been rising into the unhealthy for sensitive individuals range in the evening hours the past two nights, adding to the overall bad air quality, Fish said.

Those individuals include children, the elderly, athletes, pregnant women, asthmatics and those with existing lung or heart conditions.

Smoky conditions can cause chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, headaches, and throat irritations or make existing conditions worse like bronchitis, asthma, emphysema and heart disease, the district said.

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