An air quality monitor at Aspen Park in the Gardnerville Ranchos has become an Internet star since smoke began pouring into Caron Valley from the Rim fire, burning outside of Yosemite.
The monitor was installed by the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection to track air quality in Carson Valley.
The Web site at http://nvair.ndep.nv.gov allows residents to track the level of particulate matter in the air from their computers.
Early morning levels have been climbing into the hazardous level with an air quality index of 324. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the index is calculated for ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. The measurement runs from 0 to 500, with values below 100 considered satisfactory.
“The data set that creates the graph is the actual measured hourly value from the monitor itself,” said state environmental scientist Daren Winkelman “This value is used to automatically calculate the AQI value which is the color coded value. Most people like to see the AQI value which correspond to the color coded health ratings. The AQI is a good tool because it can be difficult to understand the actual concentration value.”
According to a graph showing the raw data that goes into calculating the index, air quality here was fine until around noon Aug. 22, when it spiked as smoke from the fire rolled into Carson Valley.
To see the air quality level click on the monitor button on the map at the website and it will provide the reading for the previous 12 hours.