Health District: Poor Air Quality May Continue Through Sunday - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Health District: Poor Air Quality May Continue Through Sunday

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From the Washoe County Health District:

The Air Quality Management Division is notifying the public of the potential for poor air quality conditions through Sunday, August 18, 2013 due to smoke from the American Fire in California. Widespread haze and smoky conditions will continue to affect Southern Washoe County especially valley locations including Reno and Sparks. 

The smoke is highly dependent upon the wind direction and fire activity which can change rapidly. Expect smoke to become more concentrated in lower elevations during the evenings and early mornings with partial clearing in the afternoons as atmospheric mixing or favorable winds lifts the smoke out of the breathing zone.
Air quality is currently in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range due to fine particulate matter. It is expected to remain in either the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range or the Moderate range as wind and weather conditions change.

Fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 is comprised of microscopic particles that can travel deep into our lungs and is the pollutant of concern found in wildfire smoke. While everybody may experience varying degrees of symptoms, persons in the sensitive groups category include children, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory and heart conditions are of greatest risk at experiencing more aggravated symptoms and serious complications. Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, headaches, stinging eyes or a runny nose.

If you have heart or lung disease, smoke might make your symptoms worse.  People with heart disease might experience chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, or fatigue. People with lung disease may not be able to breathe as deeply or as vigorously as usual, and they may experience symptoms such as coughing, phlegm, chest discomfort, wheezing and shortness of breath.
In general, if you smell smoke and feel it's affecting you, then take precautions such as:
• Staying indoors with the windows and doors closed and air conditioner on.
• Limiting prolonged or heavy exertion and physical activity while outdoors.
• Drinking plenty of fluids.
Persons experiencing questionable or severe symptoms should contact their doctor if they have any questions.
Current American Fire and Washoe County air quality information can be found at

From the Washoe County Health District

As for the American Fire, it's now nearly 5,000 acres large and is 35% contained. It started Saturday afternoon 30 miles west of Lake Tahoe in the Deadwood Range, northeast of Forest Hill in the Tahoe National Forest.

Fire crews report the blaze is burning in heavy fuels on very steep slopes. More than 870 personnel are working to contain the blaze.

The wildfire remains under investigation.

There are no current road closures, but people are being asked to stay out of the fire area for their own safety and the safety of firefighting personnel. The town of Foresthill is not in danger, and no evacuations have been ordered although individuals with active mining claims in the area are being contacted.

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