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Air quality reaching ‘very unhealthy’ to ‘hazardous’ levels as wildfires burn


Washoe County Health District officials today issued a “Stage 2 Air Pollution Warning” due to wildfire smoke. A Stage 1 alert issued on Friday was terminated as air quality in the Reno-Sparks area could reach the “Very Unhealthy” and “Hazardous” ranges today, Saturday, and Sunday.

The Stage 2 warning means all residents should stay indoors and reduce activity levels due to the susceptibility of increased health risks, officials said. “This is just the second time [the air quality index] has issued a Stage 2 warning.”

The last time the greater Reno area reached Stage 2 was Sept. 13, 2020. The Dixie, Fly and Tamarack fires are causing the poor air quality.

“Periods of heavy smoke and clearing may rapidly fluctuate during the weekend depending on wind patterns,” officials said.

The Health District has these recommendations to reduce exposure to smoke:

  • Avoid or reduce outdoor and physical activities
  • Stay indoors with the windows and doors closed; if possible, run the air conditioner on recirculation function
  • Avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing additional smoke inside
  • Consult your physician for health questions, especially those with heart and lung issues

A stage 3 rating would be the most severe, but officials said we have not reached that point.

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