Issued for Tuesday November 13 through Thursday November 15, 2018
The Public Health Departments of Yuba and Sutter County and the Feather River Air Quality Management District are issuing a joint air quality health advisory to notify the public of potentially unhealthy air quality conditions caused from wildfire smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County.
The current Air Quality Index levels are in the Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy range for most of Yuba and Sutter counties. The forecast calls for smoke to continue to impact the area through at least Thursday. Light and variable winds will reduce dispersion and the fire will generate increasing particle concentrations from smoke until the containment percentage grows.
Smoke density can vary widely from one local area to another and also with time of day. “Air quality conditions depend on a number of factors, which include proximity to the fire, wind speed and direction, and whether inversions are present,” warns Christopher D. Brown, Air Pollution Control officer.
You can check current conditions online at www.airnow.gov or www.sparetheair.com. Residents can also sign up for air quality forecasts and alerts at www.fraqmd.org. Residents who see or smell smoke should consider these precautionary measures:
· Healthy people should delay strenuous exercise, particularly when they can smell smoke.
· Children and elderly people should consider avoiding outdoor activities, particularly prolonged outdoor exertion. Parents of children involved in youth sports programs should consider whether their children be allowed to participate when smoke is in the air.
· People with health-related illnesses, particularly respiratory problems, should remain indoors.
· Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible. Use the recycle or recirculate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
· Avoid the use of non-HEPA paper face mask filters which are not capable of filtering extra fine particles. Do not rely on HEPA face mask filters to do unnecessary outdoor activities.
· Keep airways moist by drinking lots of water. Breathing through a warm, wet washcloth can also help relieve dryness, but does not filter out the hazardous smoke particles.
· Avoid the fire areas.
Wildfire smoke may contain particulate matter, ozone, carbon monoxide, and toxic air contaminants. While all persons may experience varying degrees of symptoms, more sensitive individuals, such as the young, aged and those with respiratory conditions are at greatest risk of experiencing more aggravated symptoms. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to, coughing, watery and itchy eyes, and difficulty breathing. Persons experiencing questionable or severe symptoms should seek professional medical advice and treatment.
The District has partnered with the California Air Resources Board to install low-cost particulate matter sensors in several Yuba and Sutter County locations such as Sutter, Yuba City, Robbins, Wheatland, and Oregon House. These sensors are not as accurate as the permanent or temporary monitoring stations; however the data is available online in real time and can show trends such as whether an area is likely to experience increasing or decreasing smoke levels. The maps can be accessed at: https://www.purpleair.com/.
County officials will continue to monitor air quality in Sutter and Yuba County and provide updates on this advisory as needed. For current information, or to sign up for air quality alerts and forecasts, go to the Feather River Air Quality Management District website http://www.fraqmd.org/ or check the Sutter County and Sutter County Public Health Facebook pages or Yuba County website.