With several summer wildfires burning in Northern California and air quality levels reaching an “unhealthy” smoke level in Northern Nevada, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) is encouraging area residents to be mindful of their surroundings and make certain adjustments to stay healthy and safe.

NDEP advises the public to monitor the air quality index (AQI) atwww.nvair.ndep.nv.gov to monitor near real-time status updates on air quality. The AQI focuses on health effects individuals may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. Hourly air quality updates can also be found at www.airnow.gov.

As respiratory health is top of mind for all of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial that residents take steps to avoid exposure to unhealthy air. Local health experts recommend the following safety precautions (source: https://blog.carsontahoe.com/stay-safe-in-the-smoke/):

  • Stay inside, 
  • Refrain from exercising outdoors, 
  • Keep hydrated to suppress a cough and help prevent smoky air from settling in lungs, 
  • Limit use of vacuums and gas stoves, 
  • Keep windows and doors closed, and use air conditioning if possible to help filter air throughout the house, and 
  • When driving your car in smoky areas, keep your windows and vents closed, make sure it’s set to re-circulate so you’re not bringing in outside air. 

NDEP and local officials will continue to closely monitor smoke impacts and air quality in Northern Nevada. You can also follow the AirNow.Gov Twitter feed for more information (@AirNow). General information is also available on the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Twitter feed (@NevDCNR).