Smoky Skies in the Eastern Sierra

With smoke from multiple fires filling the Eastern Sierra, our usual views of the mountains have been completely obscured. Yet despite the visibly obvious smoke in the air, Great Basin Air Pollution Control reports that the smoke has yet to trigger a state issued health alert.

When we spoke to Ted Schade, the director of Great Basin Air Pollution Control, he explained that just because the particulate matter in the air has not reached the state threshold for a health alert does not mean that the air isnt bad for you right now.

Great Basin measures the particulates in the air over a 24 hour period, then averages hourly reports out to possibly trigger a health alert. On Monday, the particulate levels in Mammoth crossed the threshold many times, but at the end of the day did not add up to the warning stage according to the Great Basin Air Pollution Control Website.

With numbers that bounce around over the course of a day, Schade says that the general rule is that if you cant see the mountains, the amount of particulates in the air is higher than the state standard.

Just because the smoke has not exceeded the state standard doesn’t mean it wont affect your health, he explained. Schade says that the effects depend on each persons sensitivity to the smoke. If you are sensitive to the smoke, he recommends staying inside and taking it easy. Do not exert yourself outside, and set the climate control in your car to re-circulate the air while you are driving.

For daily satellite photos of the fires in California click on this link .

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