Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016: Lakes Fire Smoke Effects Forecast #7

Yosemite National Park                                                                                               
Prepared: 9/27/16                                                                                                                          
Prepared by:  Jim McNitt, Air Resource Specialist
Overview: The Lakes Fire is burning in the Chilnualna Lakes area of Yosemite National Park, between Turner Meadow and Buena Vista Peak at about 8,000 feet in a designated wilderness area in Mariposa County. It is a lightning-caused fire that is being monitored and managed for resource and wildlife benefit. Managing fires that are started by lightning reduces the risk of high intensity fires and benefits the ecosystem. The size is estimated to be approximately 587 acres based on ground reconnaissance completed on 9/17/16. 
Smoke Synopsis: A nighttime temperature inversion trapped smoke from campfires in Yosemite Valley overnight.  Smoke from the Lakes Fire settled down the Chilnualna drainage to Wawona overnight and during the early morning today. Several hourly PM2.5 readings at Wawona were greater than 35 µg/m3 this morning due to the cumulative effect of wildfires in and outside of the park. Smoke from the Lakes Fire will be transported to the east this afternoon with light transport winds. Smoke will settle in the drainage again overnight under a strong nighttime surface temperature inversion. Smoke from the Lakes Fire will be transported to the northeast tomorrow afternoon with light transport winds.
Air Quality Outlook:  The temperature inversion in Yosemite Valley broke down by 10 AM today. Smoke dispersion conditions are poor today and will remain poor tomorrow. An approaching upper-level trough will improve dispersion conditions to fair on Thursday. A strong cold front will pass through Yosemite late Friday night. Expect good vertical mixing and horizontal transport of smoke Friday and Saturday. A weak upper-level trough is expected to pass through on Sunday. Dispersion conditions will remain good Friday through Monday.
9/26/16 Observation*
9/27/16 Forecast
9/28/16  Forecast
Details for avoiding smoke during the worst hours of the day
Yosemite Valley
Campfire smoke will be trapped under a surface inversion. The highest hourly readings will be between 10 PM and 6 AM.
El Portal

People with heart or lung disease, children and older adults should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion during the morning through Thursday. The highest hourly readings will be between 4 AM and noon.
Disclaimer:  Air quality predictions reflect only fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Sensitive individuals including people with asthma or heart disease, infants, children, pregnant women and older adults should take precautions to avoid exposure to smoke. If you experience health effects from smoke, contact your health professional. *The Air Quality Index (AQI) values used to create the following table are 24-hr averages (midnight-midnight local time). Locations listed in the above table can experience periods of poorer air quality than the24-hr average.

24 hr AQI Category
(PM2.5 µg/m3)
Potential Health Impacts
Actions to Protect Yourself
Good (0-12)
Little or no health risk
Moderate (13-35)
Air quality is acceptable for most. There may be moderate health concern for a small number of sensitive people.
Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups – USG (36-55)
Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects.  The general public is not likely to be affected.
People with heart or lung disease, children and older adults should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion.  Everyone else should limit prolonged or heavy exertion.
Unhealthy (56-150)

Everyone may begin to experience more serious health effects.
The following groups should avoid all physical outdoor activity: People with heart or lung disease, children and older adults.  Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.
Very Unhealthy
Triggers a health alert, everyone may experience more serious health effects
Everyone should avoid any outdoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors.
Hazardous (>250)
The entire population is even more likely to be affected by serious health effects.
The following groups should remain indoors and keep activity levels low: People with heart or lung disease; children and older adults. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion
Learn more at:
Air Monitor Data              http://www.wildlandfiresmoke.net/monitoring/                                            
California Smoke Blog                    http://www.californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com/                                                              
Air Districts         http://www.arb.ca.gov/capcoa/roster.htm                                        

AirNow (AQI forecasts and nowcasts)                    https://www.airnow.gov/           

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