In the midst of a raging wildfire season across California and Nevada, smoke advisories have been issued in Reno.
Thick smoke pushed in from the wildfires have decreased the air quality and advisories have been issued across the Reno-Tahoe area to warn people who are sensitive to such intense smoke.
Air quality is much poorer in the more southern portions of the Carson Valley. According to the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday, Reno-Sparks was only issued a hazard for sensitive groups with an Air Quality Index of 117 while Carson City was issued an unhealthy rating of 182. In comparison, a “good” rating from the Environmental Protection Agency ranges from 0-50 and poses little to no risk to health.
The National Weather Service issued a dense smoke advisory Monday morning in the Reno area due to smoke from nearby fires such as the Perry Fire near Pyramid Lake that has been burning since July 27 and is now 100 percent contained.
Perry Fire is just one fire of the large wildfire crisis spreading across the California-Nevada region. In Eastern Nevada along the Utah border, the Goose Creek Fire has reached 90 percent containment. The Carr Fire in the Redding area has burned over 160,000 acres and only 47 percent contained.
Even more devastating than the Perry and Carr fires is the Mendocino Complex Fire, a combination of two fires surrounding Clearlake, Calif. at the southern end of the Mendocino National Forest. The Mendocino Complex Fire has claimed over 280,000 acres and was only 30 percent on Monday night, making it the largest wildfire in modern California history.
According to Brendan Schnieder, an air quality specialist with the Washoe County Air Quality Management District, the smoke is so thick and dangerous due to the lack of wind causing the smoke to settle into the valleys.
It is uncertain what will happen next with regard to the air quality. Schnieder warns that it is not in anyone’s control but the fire’s itself.
“We’re at the mercy of what the fire activity is … and predicting fire activity is hard for even people on the ground there,” Schnieder said to the Reno Gazette-Journal.
The poor air quality is extremely dangerous for people sensitive to smoke. These include but are not limited to those with heart or lung disease, children, or elderly. The EPA advises that those who are sensitive to smoke and poor air quality avoid extended time outdoors.
More information on the current air quality, meanings of each rating on the air quality scale and information on the EPA can be found at www.airnow.gov.