Health Services & AQMD


(530) 621-7501
Wildfire Smoke Advisory AQMD (530) 621-7501 2015-07-06 Health Services & AQMD

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:

  • Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible.
  • Set the air conditioner in your home and car to re-circulating mode. 
  • Drink lots of water to keep airways moist.
  • Healthy people should delay strenuous outdoor exercise until smoke has cleared.
  • Children and older people should avoid outdoor activity, especially prolonged outdoor exercise. 
  • People with heart disease, respiratory or chronic health issues should stay indoors.

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:

  • Face away from the sun and look for targets at known distances (in miles). The visibility range is the distance at which high-contrast objects disappear.
  • After estimating the visibility in miles, use the following visibility index to assess air quality and determine appropriate precautions.

Range (miles)

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

Very Unhealthy

Sensitive people should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.

< 1 miles

Over 526


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 Updates on local fires and smoky conditions can also be found at

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