The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, in conjunction with Sacramento County Public Health, is advising residents to take precautions and minimize outdoor activities if they see or smell smoke coming from the current wildfires burning over a wide area in Northern California. Due to this smoke, particulate matter (PM) pollution is expected to be in the high-Moderate (yellow) to low-Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (orange) categories on the Air Quality Index.
Smoke from the fires most likely will affect the greater Sacramento Valley area through Friday, Aug. 21, but may last longer depending on the strength and direction of the winds and the fire status. Due to the unpredictable nature of wildfire smoke and other complexities, particulate matter pollution levels can be elevated in one area, but not another.
Given the smoke and the excessive heat warnings in effect in the region, residents are advised to stay indoors whenever possible. Wildfire smoke can affect anyone, but especially sensitive groups. People with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk and should limit prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion. If you see or smell smoke, take the following actions:
- Minimize outdoor activities if you see or smell smoke
- Children, the elderly and people with respiratory or heart conditions should be particularly careful to avoid exposure
- Stay indoors with doors and windows closed as much as possible
- Use your air conditioner set to re-circulating indoor air mode
- Those with asthma should follow their asthma management plan
- Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms you believe to be caused by smoke
- Those with heart disease should especially limit their smoke exposure due to increased risk of heart attacks
Cloth face coverings and surgical masks are not effective protection against particulate matter from wildfires. The most effective way to reduce exposure to smoke is to stay indoors.
For current conditions visit the Sacramento Region Spare the Air website or download the Sacramento Region Air Quality app and learn about other ways you can prepare for the smoke during the wildfire season.
BRENDA BONGIORNO, SACRAMENTO COUNTY PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JAMIE ARNO, SAC METRO AIR DISTRICT COMMUNICATIONS SUPERVISOR