Residents advised to stay indoors amidst “very unhealthy” air quality
Washoe County was placed under a Stage 2 Air Pollution Warning—it’s first ever—by the Washoe County Health District – Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) based on current air pollution levels. Health officials say all residents should stay indoors and limit activity levels due to potential increased health risks.
The warning is in place until further notice.
The Health District based the warning on the U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI). It said in a statement that the area “averaged in the Very Unhealthy AQI range yesterday and is expected to average between the Very Unhealthy and Hazardous AQIs today.” Officials said wind patterns may cause the air quality to fluctuate, but they expect the smoke impacts and poor air quality to persist throughout the day.
Smoke and small particle pollution from wildfires in Northern California continue to remain in the Truckee Meadows, creating unhealthy air that can harm the heart and lungs.
AQMD has issued these recommendations to reduce exposure to smoke:
- If you can see or smell smoke, avoid or reduce outdoor activities
- Leave the smoke-impacted area until conditions improve, if possible
- Stay indoors with the windows and doors closed; if possible, run the air conditioner on recirculation function
- Limit outdoor exertion and physical activity
- Avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing additional smoke inside
- Face coverings that reduce the spread of COVID-19 do not protect you from wildfire smoke
- N95 respirators can provide some protection but should be reserved for frontline health and emergency personnel during the pandemic
AQMD can issue Stage 1 (Alert), Stage 2 (Warning) or Stage 3 (Emergency) notifications with the Stage 3 alert meaning the conditions are the most severe. More information on the stages can be found here.
For the current air quality levels and forecasts go to AirNow.gov or EnviroFlash.info where you can sign up for Air Quality alerts and forecasts.