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​​el-dorado-logoJOINT PRESS RELEASEel-dorado-phd


Public Health Department

Air Quality Management District


Health Advisory Issued Due to Wildfire Smoke


   Due to scores of Northern California fires started over the weekend, El Dorado County remains under a blanket of wildfire smoke, prompting the El Dorado County Air Quality Management District and Public Health Department to issue a health advisory.

   Smoky conditions are expected to last in the Central Valley and the Sierra Foothills for at least another day. Air quality is forecast to be unhealthy for sensitive groups in much of the area. El Dorado County may be affected on an intermittent basis until fires are contained. Fine particles in smoke are linked with a variety of health problems.

   "If you can see or smell smoke, you should limit outdoor physical activity, and consider canceling sporting events and other group physical activities if smoke gets worse," said Marcella McTaggart, County Air Pollution Control Officer. Smoky conditions may vary considerably in El Dorado County because of the terrain and weather. Residents who see or smell smoke should consider taking these precautionary measures:

  • Healthy people should delay strenuous exercise.
  • Children and elderly people should consider avoiding outdoor activities, particularly prolonged outdoor exertion.
  • People with health-related illnesses, particularly respiratory problems, should remain indoors.
  • Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible. Use the recycle or er-circulated mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
  • Avoid the use of non-HEPA paper face mask filters which are not capable of filtering extra fine particles.
  • Keep airways moist by drinking lots of water. Breathing through a warm, wet washcloth can also help relieve dryness.

   The young, the aged and those with respiratory conditions are at greatest risk of experiencing more aggravated symptoms due to exposure to smoke in the air. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to, coughing, watery and itchy eyes, and difficulty breathing. Persons experiencing questionable or severe symptoms should seek professional medical advice and treatment.

   According to the El Dorado County Air Quality Management District, the following index will assist in assessing the air quality based on the visibility in your area. To assess visibility:

  • Face away from the sun. Determine visibility range by looking for targets that are at known distances (miles).
  • The visible range is the point where even high-contrast objects disappear.
  • After determining visibility in miles use the following Wildfire Smoke Visibility Index to assess air quality.


Visibility Range Health Category

Health Effects*

10+ miles Good None

5 - 10 miles


Usually    sensitive    people    should  consider   reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.

3 - 5 miles

Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Sensitive people should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

1.5 - 2.5 miles


Sensitive people should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

1 -  1.25 miles

Very Unhealthy

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

< 0.75 miles


Sensitive people should remain indoors and keep activity levels low. Everyone else should avoid all physical activity outdoors.


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