Wildfire Smoke: Air Quality Conditions and Public Health Recommendations

Joint press release

Smoke from numerous wildfires throughout California and Nevada including the Ferguson Fire, outside Yosemite National Park, and the Lions Fire near Mammoth Lakes are affecting local air quality.


File photo

Persistent smoky conditions are impacting communities and residents throughout Mono, Inyo, and Alpine counties. The Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, Mono County Public Health Department, Inyo County Health and Human Services Department, and Alpine County Public Health Department recommend the public keep track of current air quality conditions and take steps to protect yourself and your family from wildfire smoke.

Air Quality Conditions and Health Advisories

For current air quality conditions, health advisories and details, including instructions to using visibility to determine air quality, visit www.gbuapcd.org. Smoke levels may change rapidly throughout the day due to wind and weather conditions.

You can monitor changes in smoke in your area and make plans accordingly. Not every community has an air quality monitor but you may use your own observations and local visibility to help determine conditions.

Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

If possible, limit your exposure to smoke. Below are some tips to protect your health:

 Avoid Smoky Periods. Smoke often changes over the course of a day. Track conditions and plan your activities to avoid the worst periods of air quality.

 Stay Indoors. During elevated levels of smoke do not go outdoors.

 Reduce Activity. Reducing physical activity lowers the amount of inhaled pollutants and reduces health risks during smoke events.

 Smoke Exposure. Children, pregnant women, older adults, and those with chronic illnesses are more vulnerable to smoke exposure. If you or someone in your family have symptoms related to smoke exposure such as difficulty breathing, prolonged coughing, or chest pain  contact your health care provider.

 Keep Indoor Air Clean. Close all windows and doors. Swamp coolers do not offer filtration and should not be used during smoky conditions. Air conditioners may be run with the fresh air intake closed. If you are unable to keep your indoor air clean or it is too hot, consider relocating to an area with cleaner air.

Some indoor air filter systems may improve indoor air quality, for more information visit https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/news/tips-choosing-indoor-aircleaner-effective-indoor-smoke-removal-california.

 Do Not Rely on Masks for Protection. Dust masks or bandanas do not offer protection. An N95 respirator, properly fitted and worn, will offer some protection but an N95 that is loose or that does not fit properly will not decrease exposure. In addition, a properly fitted N95 can be difficult to breathe through and may not be suitable for use over an extended time or for persons with health conditions.

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