Threatening more than 1,500 structures and triggering evacuations in town after town Wednesday, California’s Detwiler Fire is causing air quality advisories in Northern Nevada as smoke continues to push into the region.
Located in Mariposa County and burning west of Yosemite National Park, the fire reached 45,724 acres Wednesday afternoon, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The fire ignited Sunday east of Lake McClure, was only 7 percent contained and destroyed eight structures, according to Cal Fire.
Meanwhile, no injuries have been reported but more than 4,000 people in communities nearby are under evacuation orders as the fire burns in steep terrain with dense vegetation, with 2,208 fire crews on scene.
The smoke has Carson City under a “Very Unhealthy” air quality warning. Gardnerville and Minden experienced hazardous air quality, according to the Airnow.gov.
Although disperse winds are expected to help clear up the air, the smoke will continue to linger, making air quality even worse, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.
The density of the smoke is similar to a fog; a blanket of it has been in the valleys since 3 a.m. Wednesday, on top of high pressure inversion and southwest winds.
This also causes cooler morning temperatures, as it delays heat from the sun hitting the ground.
NWS said there isn’t a chance for rain or thunderstorms due to lack of moisture.
With that, the stale smoke that’s been hanging out in the region for the last day or so is expected to cause some irritating side effects to one’s health.
“When there’s a particular matter in the air, that can impact people with lung issues or asthma,” said Dustin Boothe, epidemiologist of Carson City Heath & Human Services. “It can also affect people who don’t have lung issues. There’s still coughing and difficulty to breathe because of the quantity.”
This goes the same for pets; if it’s unhealthy for owners, it’s best to keep them indoors until conditions improve.
Both CCHHS and the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority are advising precautionary instructions on dealing with the unhealthy air quality conditions: avoid outdoor activities, change air filters and keep the air conditioner recirculating, consider wearing a handkerchief or a bandana for moist protection, and don’t add to indoor pollution such as burning candles.
If respiratory conditions persist or there’s an increase of breathing difficulties, call 9-1-1.