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Health district issues emergency episode in response to wildfire smoke

By Jeri Chadwell

The Washoe County Health District’s Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) has issued a Stage 3 Emergency Episode due to smoke from area wildfires. The determination was made after the air quality index (AQI) remained over 200 for a 24-hour period.

The Caldor Fire, which ignited Aug. 14 and has burned more than 100,000 acres, is the main wildfire contributing to the poor air quality. Cal Fire said Monday morning that the fire is 5% contained.

The AQI for the Reno-Sparks area is expected to be “Very Unhealthy” to “Hazardous” at times through Wednesday depending on wind patterns. An AQI this high means all residents should stay indoors as much as possible. 

This is the first time the AQMD has issued a Stage 3 Emergency Episode.

To see current air quality in Reno-Sparks, click here. For information on what the air quality index colors mean, click here

The AQMD has issued these recommendations to reduce exposure to smoke:

  • Everyone should stay indoors and avoid any outdoor activity.
  • Stay indoors with the windows and doors closed.
  • Consult your physician for health questions, especially those with heart and lung issues.
  • Create a clean air room.

The AQMD can issue a Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3 and Stage 4 Emergency Episode, with the Stage 4 being the most severe. More information on the stages can be found here. The Emergency Episode rule was recently revised and adopted by the District Board of Health on July 22, 2021.

For Washoe County Air Quality Updates to your inbox, sign up here. Visit OurCleanAir.com for additional information on the Air Quality Management Division.

Source: WCHD

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