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Haze expected to linger for a few days, air quality poor in areas

Staff and Wire reports

The haze and smoke from a multitude of wildfires in northern California is expected to linger above Carson City and the Carson Valley at least through tomorrow and into Thursday, the National Weather Service is reporting.

The wind is coming from the west, bringing with it smoke and haze from California. Winds are expected to reach 10 mph, which won’t likely lift the smoke from the air, said National Weather Service specialist Rudy Cruz.

Additionally, the state health department is reporting that particulate matter has been exceeded in Gardnerville this morning.

The Environmental Protection Agency standard for particulate matter is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. The reading was 37 in Gardnerville and 29.5 in Carson City this morning, said Dante Pistone, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection.

In Reno health officials declared the air quality “unhealthful” for the Reno-Sparks area.

People with respiratory problems, elderly and young children were advised to remain inside with windows closed. The Air Quality Management Division of the Washoe District Health Department also recommended people avoid prolonged outdoor activity while the smoke persists.

The smoke was contributing to elevated particulate pollution levels ” about five times greater than is typically measured on a good air quality day, said Andy Goodrich, director of Air Quality Management for the department.

It also reduced visibility to as low as 3 miles in Reno on Tuesday, obscuring any sign of the Sierra Nevada typically visible from downtown, officials said.

“While Stage One is the lowest level alert, it does provide an opportunity for us to remind citizens and visitors, especially those with breathing problems such as asthma, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), of steps they can take to minimize the impact of the current situation on their health,” Goodrich said.

“We recommend staying indoors, closing windows and using air conditioning instead, and avoiding participation in strenuous activities outside,” he said.

Stage One alerts are more common in the winter due to smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, Goodrich said. This is the first time in many years that a Stage

One alert has been issued during the summer months, he said.

On Monday, Clark County air quality officials issued an advisory about smoke from California wildfires creating a haze in the Las Vegas area, but they said the air was not expected to reach unhealthy levels.

Most of the smoke in Reno area was attributed to a complex of California fires east of Chico as well as those burning near Lake Davis, Bieber, Blue Canyon and Yosemite National Park.

“However, there are hundreds of fires further west which are also contributing to the smoke across the area,” the National Weather Service in Reno said.

For more on this story, read Wednesday’s editions of the Nevada Appeal.