Environment

More smoke, heat, poor air quality expected in Sacramento region. How long will it last?

Satellite imagery shows smoke from wildfires moving into Nevada’s Great Basin Region

Satellite imagery on August 5 showed smoke from wildfires in California and Nevada blowing into the state’s Great Basin region. The footage was released as a number of wildfires, including California’s Carr Fire, continued to burn.
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Satellite imagery on August 5 showed smoke from wildfires in California and Nevada blowing into the state’s Great Basin region. The footage was released as a number of wildfires, including California’s Carr Fire, continued to burn.

Poor air quality is expected to linger in the Sacramento area throughout the week, as wildfires continue to burn in Northern California and weather conditions trap smoke over the capital region.

Smoke from various fires may increase particulate levels in the air across the region, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air District said in a smoke update. Hot temperatures in the mid- to upper 90s and cloudless skies will promote ozone formation, adding to the hazy conditions.

Monday remains a Spare the Air day with an air quality index forecast of 140 in the Sacramento region followed by 133 on Tuesday. These levels are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, older adults and individuals with heart or lung issues, including asthma. Moderately high levels are forecast to last through Friday, the air district said.

Sunday’s air quality index peaked in Placerville, reaching 172, considered unhealthy ozone levels, the worst in the Sacramento region. Downtown Sacramento saw a relatively good ozone level AQI of 43.

Across the region, PM2.5 levels have stayed in the moderate range. These are the very small particles that pose the greatest health risk, particularly to heart and lung health, the Spare the Air website says.

Sacramento’s Spare the Air program, which runs May through October, has tallied 13 designated Spare the Air days this year, during which residents are encouraged to reduce driving, cut down rigorous outdoor activity and look after sensitive groups when ozone and particulate levels rise during the smoggy season.

This year is on track to exceed the last two years’ 17 day – a marked high, as the yearly log of designated days had been in the single digits since 2007.

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