Air Quality Officials Urge Caution Due to Wildfire Smoke

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wildfire smoke seen from California Street, Redding

            photo by Matt Grigsby

The Shasta County Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is advising Shasta County residents to remain aware of increasing smoke impacts due to multiple wildfires burning in the Northern California and Oregon region. Wildfires burning in the region are currently transporting increasing amounts of wildfire smoke overhead at high elevations into the populated areas of Shasta County. This smoke is expected to begin reaching ground levels later today. Certain areas may experience higher concentrations of smoke based on proximity to wildfires and current weather conditions. The public—especially those with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, pregnant women and children—should remain alert, and if necessary, reduce or avoid all outdoor exertion when wildfire smoke is present. Everyone else should limit prolonged exertion in areas of noticeable smoke accumulation. To minimize exposure to smoke:

• Limit exercise and outdoor activities
• Remain indoors with the windows and doors closed
• Turn on an air conditioner with a recirculation setting (such as in a vehicle)
• Non-HEPA paper face mask filters and bandana-type face coverings may be helpful in reducing the spread of germs and viruses, but they are not capable of filtering out extra fine particulates that are much smaller in size. Therefore, non-HEPA masks will not be helpful in protecting individuals from smoke-related impacts.

The Air Quality Management District operates two air quality monitors in Anderson and Redding that continuously monitor for fine particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in size (PM2.5). Some areas of Shasta County may experience higher concentrations of smoke than others depending on wind patterns and topography. All individuals are urged to use proper judgement when planning activities.

You can easily obtain current air quality readings two ways:
The Air Quality Index (AQI) readings (represented by circles) from the fixed monitors are updated hourly and are available at Shasta County AQMD’s Current Air Quality Map
Additionally, AirNow has created a sensor data pilot project designed to provide the public with
additional information on levels of particle pollution (PM2.5) in the air, particularly during
wildfires. The project adds data from low-cost sensors to the Fire and Smoke Map on the website.

For additional information and updates, visit the Shasta County Air Quality Management District
Wildfire Smoke Webpage or call 225-5674.
Outdoor Worker Information: CAL/OSHA Emergency Wildfire Smoke Rule
Additional safety tips can be found at the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency’s protect yourself from wildfire smoke webpage.
For information on preparing and recovery from wildfire visit: Wildfire Recovery and Preparedness

-from press release
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