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With the official arrival of summer, El Dorado County health officials are reminding residents to take precautions should wildfire smoke impact the areas in which they live, work and recreate. According to Dave Johnston, El Dorado County Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Air Pollution Control Officer, wildfires in the County and region can produce smoke that causes health problems, particularly for children, older people and those with heart disease or respiratory issues.
Johnston advises that residents should limit outdoor activity if smoke is seen or smelled. Specific precautions include the following:
Smoke conditions can change quickly and vary greatly in El Dorado County because of the terrain, wind direction and weather. Residents can assess air quality based on visibility in their area, by using the Smoke Visibility Index as follows:
Particulate Matter Level
(1-hour average, μg/m3)
0 - 38
5 - 10
39 - 88
Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.
3 - 5
89 - 138
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Sensitive people should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.
1.5 - 3
139 - 350
Sensitive people should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.
1 - 1.5
351 - 526
Sensitive people should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.
< 1 miles
Sensitive people should remain indoors and keep activity levels low. Everyone else should avoid all physical activity outdoors.
For more information about air quality issues in El Dorado County, please visit AQMD's website at www.edcgov.us/airqualitymanagement. Updates on local fires and smoky conditions can also be found at http://californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com/.
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