Friday, August 21, 2020

Friday, August 21, 2020 - Butte County Air Quality Advisory



From: Stephen Ertle, Air Pollution Control Officer

Danette York, M.P.H., Public Health Director

The Butte County Air Quality Management District Air Pollution Control Officer and the Butte County Public Health Director are issuing this Joint Air Quality Advisory to notify the public about wildfire smoke impacts in Butte County due to several wildfires burning in Northern California. The smoke impacts to our area have continued and worsened due to widespread fire activity throughout Northern California, leading to conditions that are considered Unhealthy in Butte County. Smoke impacts will vary based on wind direction and fire intensity. 

Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of air pollutants that are harmful to human health. The major air pollutant of concern is fine particulate matter also known as PM2.5.  Exposure to air pollutants in wildfire smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing cough, a dry scratchy throat, runny nose, trouble breathing, and irritated sinuses.

While all persons may experience varying degrees of symptoms, people at increased risk from smoke inhalation include:

Young children

Older adults

Pregnant women

People with chronic respiratory and heart conditions

People who work outside

People experiencing homelessness

Persons experiencing questionable or severe symptoms should seek professional medical advice and treatment.

People can reduce smoke inhalation by taking the following actions:

Limit outdoor exertion, especially children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions; 

If your child shows signs of compromised breathing or has respiratory conditions, follow your doctor’s directions regarding medicines and asthma management plans. Call your doctor if symptoms worsen.

Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible in buildings and vehicles. 

When AQI levels reach Unhealthy levels (150 or higher), consider if the work needed to be completed outside is essential. Typically, N95 particulate masks can be worn during smoke-related events. However, these masks are in short supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember that a dust mask, cloth face covering, or medical mask will not filter out smoke!  Staying indoors is the best option to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke.

Try to limit sources of air pollution in your home (smoking, use of incense or candles, and frying food are some examples of indoor air pollution sources).

If you have air conditioning, make sure your setting is on “recirculate” both in your car and in your home to use inside air rather than drawing in air from the outside.  

Use high efficiency air filters (rated MERV-13 or higher) for your HVAC system if possible. Portable HEPA filters can also be used (avoid Ozone-producing air purifiers).  

Track air quality in your area through websites or mobile apps to plan your activity before heading out.  The BCAQMD website ( has daily air quality forecasts as well as links to real-time air quality data. is the primary resource for air quality conditions throughout the nation. Other websites with information include:

This notification will remain in effect while fires affecting our region remain active.  Outdoor residential burning is currently prohibited by CAL FIRE.  More information including access to air quality data is available at or Questions may be directed to 530-332-9400 during regular business hours.

No comments:

Post a Comment