Smoke and Air Quality from the Railroad and other fires in Mariposa County
Due to smoke from the Railroad Fire near Fish Camp, visitors and residents may experience some health effects while in the area. Currently, the Air Quality in the Ponderosa Basin and Wawona is ranging between Unhealthy and Hazardous (see chart attached).
An Air Resource Advisor, working with the Incident Management Team, and local Air Pollution and Health Departments, issues a Smoke and Air Quality Outlook. The Outlook includes a summary of smoke/fire activity and a forecast of the expected air quality relative to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and when smoke conditions will be either significantly better or worse during those times to help residents and visitors make necessary health-based decisions. For smoke and air quality Outlook see https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/2017/CentralSierraFires#Area1, For Mariposa County AQI page see http://www.mariposacounty.org/index.aspx?nid=1434
The forecasts follow EPA’s 24-hour Air Quality Index (AQI) – color-coded for ease of connecting the situation directly to health effects, exposure to shorter durations of high levels of smoke can also have effects on healthy as well as sensitive people. Sensitive groups include people with respiratory and circulatory disorders (asthma, emphysema, COPD for example), but also people with smaller lung capacities – young children and babies as well as the elderly.
Here is a short list of actions which can be taken if you are noticing these effects or if you wish to avoid impacts.
- Reduce physical activity – your body does not function as efficiently in smoke as it does in clean air. Even healthy firefighters utilize this technique.
- Drink plenty of water – frequently overlooked, water helps the body and the lungs clear out the very small smoke particles.
- Spend a number of hours in clean air – Most impacts are short-termed and being in clean air for a number of hours helps the body clean out the passageways.
- Keep windows closed in houses (keep at LEAST one room clean) and your car air conditioner on recirculate – do not bring in outside air, it can be very difficult to clear out.
- If possible, leave the area for someplace clear during the periods of highest smoke concentrations.
Please refer to https://airnow.gov/, for further information.