UPDATE: Air quality worsened Sunday from Lowell Fire smoke | TheUnion.com
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UPDATE: Air quality worsened Sunday from Lowell Fire smoke

UPDATE, Monday, July 27:

The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District is updating and expanding its air quality health advisory for July 27 and 28. Smoky conditions are likely to be experienced in parts of Plumas, Sierra and Nevada County due to smoke from the Lowell Fire in the Steephollow Creek area of Nevada County.

During the night and early morning of July 26 and 27, air quality reached the Very Unhealthy to Hazardous range in western Nevada County as downslope, nighttime winds pushed smoke into Grass Valley, Nevada City and surrounding areas. The main smoke plume is expected to shift to the northeast during Monday, and could result in smoky conditions primarily in the eastern portions of Sierra and Plumas County, and possibly reach Truckee in Nevada County. Some of the overnight smoke drifted down the Bear River drainage toward the Central Valley floor and is expected to gradually drift northeast across Nevada County during Monday, with gradual clearing likely in western Nevada County as the day progresses. It is possible that the morning of July 28 will be smoky in western Nevada County again.



Smoke is primarily fine particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM 2.5), which can be inhaled deeply into the lungs. Smoke concentrations are expected to intermittently be in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range and potentially reach the Hazardous range over a wide area on Monday and Tuesday, and are expected to vary greatly during the course of each day depending on wind speed, wind direction, fire behavior and other factors.

Aggravation of heart or lung disease, sever breathing difficulty and premature mortality could occur in people with cardiopulmonary disease and older adults, while increased respiratory effects may be evident in the general population. People with heart or lung disease, older adults and children are especially sensitive to the health effects of smoke and should avoid physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.




If you smell smoke, or see smoke around you, consider restricting your outside activities. Until the potential for poor air quality subsides, individuals should consider taking the following actions:

– Healthy people should delay strenuous exercise when they can smell and see smoke. That applies especially to school gym classes and athletic practices. Young athletes are considered sensitive individuals and any perceived benefits from a smoky workout could be outweighed by the negative impacts of the smoke inhaled during that workout.

– People with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors when smoke can be seen or smelled outside.

– 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.

– If possible, sensitive individuals should consider relocating to another location that is not currently experiencing smoke impacts for a few days to avoid long term exposure.

– Keep airways moist by drinking lots of water. Breathing through a warm, wet washcloth can also help relieve dryness.

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.” Do not run swamp coolers or whole house fans. When feasible, pets should be brought indoors when outdoor air quality is poor. 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. Masks can create a false sense of security and should not replace reducing activity or exposure. If you need to wear a mask, wear the correct type of mask – 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” an d either “P100” or “N95” printed on the filter material.

Studies have linked fine particulate matter (smoke) with work and school absences, respiratory related hospital admissions and health problems, including burning eyes, aggravated asthma, acute respiratory symptoms (including severe chest pain, gasping, and aggravated coughing), chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, and premature death. Increased ozone exacerbates these health effects. In addition to the acute health effects of smoke, people may experience some cumulative effects, such as a dry cough and chest discomfort.

______

UPDATE, Sunday, July 26:

The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District is updating its air quality health advisory for people in Western Nevada County due to smoke from the Lowell Fire in the Steephollow Creek area of Nevada County.

During the early morning Sunday, air quality worsened considerably for most of western Nevada County as east winds pushed the smoke into the most populated portions of western Nevada County.

Much of the overnight smoke drifted down the Bear River drainage toward the Central Valley floor and will gradually push across Nevada County during Sunday as winds shift to carry the smoke to the northeast.

______

Saturday, July 25

The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District is issuing an air quality health advisory for people in Western Nevada County due to smoke from the Lowell Fire in Nevada County.

Although smoke from this fire has not yet settled into the breathing zone in western Nevada County at the time this advisory is issued, there is an excellent chance that overnight downslope winds may bring heavy smoke concentrations to populated areas during nighttime hours and the morning hours on Sunday, July 26.

Smoke is primarily fine particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM 2.5), which can be inhaled deeply into the lungs. Smoke concentrations are expected to intermittently be in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups or Unhealthy range throughout the region, and are expected to vary greatly during the course of each day depending on wind speed, wind direction, fire behavior and other factors.

Aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality could occur in people with cardiopulmonary disease and older adults, while increased respiratory effects may be evident in the general population. People with heart or lung disease, older adults and children should avoid physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

If you smell smoke, or see smoke around you, consider restricting your outside activities. Until the potential for poor air quality subsides, individuals should consider taking the following actions:

— Healthy people should delay strenuous exercise when they can smell and see smoke. That applies especially to school gym classes and athletic practices. Young athletes are considered sensitive individuals and any perceived benefits from a smoky workout could be outweighed by the negative impacts of the smoke inhaled during that workout.

— People with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors when smoke can be seen or smelled outside.

— 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.

— If possible, sensitive individuals should consider relocating to another location that is not currently experiencing smoke impacts for a few days to avoid long term exposure.

— Keep airways moist by drinking lots of water. Breathing through a warm, wet washcloth can also help relieve dryness.

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.” Do not run swamp coolers or whole house fans. When feasible, pets should be brought indoors when outdoor air quality is poor. 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. Masks can create a false sense of security and should not replace reducing activity or exposure. If you need to wear a mask, wear the correct type of mask – 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.

Studies have linked fine particulate matter (smoke) with work and school absences, respiratory related hospital admissions and health problems, including burning eyes, aggravated asthma, acute respiratory symptoms (including severe chest pain, gasping, and aggravated coughing), chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, and premature death. Increased ozone exacerbates these health effects. In addition to the acute health effects of smoke, people may experience some cumulative effects, such as a dry cough and chest discomfort.


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