Air Quality Index Guide: Protect Yourself from Harmful Wildfire Smoke | Mammoth Lakes Air Hazardous

The current air quality index for the Town of Mammoth Lakes is 429 for Sunday, September 20.

On September 14, 15, 16, and 17 the index topped out at 500+.

The best link to what the quality index is in your community or zip code, visit:

Another local link is the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (GBUAPCD) continually monitors air quality in numerous locations in Mono and Inyo and County and posts current air quality data on their website,

We are hearing a lot about Air Quality Index lately with all the wildfires burning around the state. Anything rated above 100 is unhealthy, progressively getting increasingly unhealthy up to very unhealthy and extremely unhealthy. Smoke is particularly hazardous as it is very small particles smaller 2.5μm particles which have a much easier time entering our bodies via breathing. The best protection is to stay indoors, but if you must go outdoors, use a respirator, a specific device or mask, which should be tight-fitting.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that cloth masks and most common surgical masks are ineffective against smoke particles. According to the EPA Information Sheet, “WILDFIRE SMOKE FACTSHEET- Protect Your Lungs from Wildfire Smoke or Ash,” the best mask are Respirators which are sold at many hardware and, home repair stores and pharmacies or online. The EPA’s recommendation is that people who must be outside for extended periods of time in smoky air or an ash covered area may benefit from using a tightfitting N95 or P100 respirator to reduce their exposure.

It is the smaller 2.5μm particles that get the most attention as being most harmful. Typically, people can see visible evidence in the form of haze and smoke when PM2.5 levels increase. These fine particles have a much easier time entering our bodies through breathing.

To make communicating potential health risks to the public even easier, ranges of scores have been organized into descriptive categories.




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