UPDATE 9 a.m. Sept. 14, 2020 - Washoe County Health District Downgrades Air Pollution Warning to Advisory
The Washoe County Health District – Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) has rescinded the Stage 2 Air Pollution Warning from Sept. 13 and is issuing an Air Quality Advisory for Washoe County based on current air pollutions levels. The downgrade represents a drop of two levels from the previous announcement. An advisory is for when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is between 101-150. The advisory means that sensitive groups are still susceptible to increased health risks and it is in effect until further notice.
Reno/Sparks, Nev. Sept 13, 2020 – The Washoe County Health District – Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) has issued a Stage 2 Air Pollution Warning for Washoe County based on current air pollutions levels. This warning means that all residents should stay indoors and reduce activity levels due to the susceptibility of increased health risks.
This is the first Stage 2 warning ever issued by the Health District and is in place until further notice.
The U.S. Air Quality Index (AQI), a color-coded scale from 0 to 500 used to communicate air quality, averaged in the Very Unhealthy AQI range yesterday and is expected to average between the Very Unhealthy and Hazardous AQIs.
Wildfires in the Plumas, Tahoe and Eldorado National Forests continue to contribute heavy smoke impacts in the Reno-Sparks area based on PM2.5 particle pollution, which are extremely small particles that can harm the heart and lungs.
Areas throughout Washoe County can expect similar smoke impacts and poor air quality conditions throughout the day, though conditions can rapidly fluctuate depending on wind patterns.
AQMD has issued these recommendations to reduce exposure to smoke:
If you can see or smell smoke, avoid or reduce outdoor activities
Leave the smoke-impacted area until conditions improve, if possible
Stay indoors with the windows and doors closed; if possible, run the air conditioner on recirculation function
Limit outdoor exertion and physical activity
Avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing additional smoke inside
Face coverings that reduce the spread of COVID-19 do not protect you from wildfire smoke
N95 respirators can provide some protection but should be reserved for frontline health and emergency personnel during the pandemic
AQMD can issue Stage 1 (Alert), Stage 2 (Warning) or Stage 3 (Emergency) notifications with the Stage 3 alert meaning the conditions are the most severe. More information on the stages can be found here.
For the current air quality levels and forecasts go to AirNow.gov or EnviroFlash.info where you can sign up for Air Quality alerts and forecasts. You can also follow AQMD on Twitter and Facebook and please use the hashtag #BeSmokeSmart.
Visit OurCleanAir.com for additional information on the Air Quality Management Division.
The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.