Monday update: Smoke back for the week
September 2, 2013
Smoke can affect everyone, here are some tips to help:
Keep windows closed if you see or smell smoke. If possible, run air conditioners in the recirculate mode inside the house and car to keep the smoke out.
Run HEPA filters inside to filter out dust and particles that do get into your house. Do not use an air cleaner that works by generating ozone.
Room air cleaners are good to have during smoke emergencies. Make sure that it is a true air cleaner and not a humidifier. If you choose to purchase one, do so before a smoke emergency occurs to avoid having to go to the store and breathing the smoke.
If it is not possible to reduce indoor smoke it is recommended to stay with a friend or relative who can. It helps to get a break from smoke in smoke free place to reduce one’s exposure to smoke.
Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution. Burning cigarettes, gas, propane and wood burning stoves and furnaces and activities such as cooking, burning candles and incense and vacuuming can greatly increase the particle levels in a home and should be avoided when wildfire smoke is present.
Smoke can affect pets too. The same smoke particles that cause problems for people may also cause problems for animals. Don’t force your animals to run or work in smoky conditions. If your pet has heart or lung disease, follow the same visibility guidelines as for sensitive people.
Wearing air masks and bandanas are not recommended. If you choose to wear a mask make sure it is a particulate filter mask which has the word “NIOSH” and either “N95” or P100” printed on it. These can be found at hardware stores or pharmacies and can be effective at reducing exposure to smoke particles as long as the respirators seal closely to the wear’s face. It is important to know that these particulate respirators will not provide complete protection and may even interfere with proper breathing.
If you have asthma or other lung diseases, be vigilant about taking the medications prescribed by your doctor. If you are supposed to measure your peak flows, make sure you do so. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
The smoke was back in Carson Valley this morning with readings in the unhealthy range and higher as the prevailing southwest wind returned.
Coming from the Rim fire burning into western Yosemite about 75 miles south of Gardnerville, the smoke prompted National Weather Service forecasters to predict it will continue through this week.
The densest smoke is expected in Alpine and northern Mono counties in the afternoons and evenings, when visibility could be less than a mile at times.
Prevailing southwest winds are expected to continue through Thursday.
The Rim fire grew to 228,670 acres overnight with lines around 60 percent. But the fire continues to burn in the north and the south and southeast flanks into Yosemite National Park.
Southwest winds are expected to increase burning to the north today. The Rim fire is the largest fire burning in the United States this year and is the fourth largest California wildfire in 80 years. More than a quarter of the fire is burning in Yosemite National Park which represents 8 percent of the park’s total area. Containment is expected by Sept. 20.