Washoe County downgrades air quality emergency episode

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 11:54 AM PDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2021 at 2:43 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - FRIDAY UPDATE: The Washoe County Health Air Quality Management Division announced Friday that the Stage 3 Emergency Episode issued Monday has been downgraded.

It is now a Stage 1 Emergency Episode which is the lowest level of the four Emergency Episode Stages. It was downgraded because the 24-hour PM2.5 AQI was less than 200. The 24-hour PM2.5 AQI is expected to be above 100 for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Those in sensitive groups including children, older adults, and those with heart/lung disease should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. The Dixie and Caldor Fires remain active and are continuing to contribute to the poor air quality in the region.

MONDAY: Air quality in the Reno/Sparks area shifted into the ‘Hazardous’ range Monday as smoke from the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County continues to send smoke into the Truckee Meadows.

The Washoe County Health District – Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) has issued its first ever Stage 3 Emergency Episode due to the poor air quality.

The air quality index (AQI) for the Reno-Sparks area is expected to be “Very Unhealthy” to “Hazardous” at times Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

The Stage 3 Emergency Episode was issued because the PM2.5 AQI was over 200 for a 24-period of time.

It also means that all residents should stay indoors as much as possible.

AQMD can issue a Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, and Stage 4 Emergency Episode with the Stage 4 being the most severe. More information on the stages can be found here.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the particulates in the air are extremely harmful to your health:

Particulate matter contains microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are so small that they can be inhaled and cause serious health problems. Some particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter can get deep into your lungs and some may even get into your bloodstream. Of these, particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, also known as fine particles or PM 2.5, pose the greatest risk to health.

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