A Study in Smoke - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

A Study in Smoke

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Everyone's talking about the thick smoke that's been blanketing the Truckee Meadows since last week.

The Desert Research Institute is using it.

When they realized that forecasts had the smoke hanging around for a while, they decided to put it to good use. The set up monitors outside, inside an office and inside their specially-pressurized laboratories.

Dr. Xiaoliang Wang has been doing air quality research through the Desert Research Institute since 2009. He says the quality of our air right now could be compared to the problems in Beijing, China.

"Here, for the past three days, we've been seeing levels about 100. In Beijing it's not unusual for their air to hit as high as 300. So it is still worse there. But here is like a moderate day there. It's pretty bad."

Dr. Marc Pitchford analyzed the samples collected around the DRI campus. The special laboratories there are used for air quality samples sent in from around the country. And he says the systems are working just fine.

"We saw very high particulate levels outside," Pitchford said. "And we saw the office air levels tightly related to the outside levels. They went up and down at the same time, but with the air conditioning, the levels were far lower. And it seems we are seeing no impacts from the forest fire smoke inside our laboratories."

He added that air conditioners and staying indoors with windows closed are both good ideas for those with sensitivity to the smoke.

Written by Erin Breen 

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