Health Services & AQMD

Margaret Williams

(530) 642-7164
Wildfire Smoke Advisory Margaret Williams (530) 642-7164 2016-06-30 Health Services & AQMD


Air quality in El Dorado County is currently being impacted by the Trailhead Fire and other fires in the state. County health officials are reminding residents to take precautions should wildfire smoke impact the areas in which they live, work and recreate. According to Dave Johnston, El Dorado County Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Air Pollution Control Officer, wildfires in the County and region can produce smoke that causes health problems, particularly for children, older people and those with heart disease or respiratory issues.

 Johnston advises that residents and visitors limit outdoor activity if they see or smell smoke. Specific precautions include the following: 

  • Keep windows, doors and vents closed as much as possible.

  • Set the air conditioner in your home and car to re-circulating mode. 

  • Drink lots of water to keep airways moist.

  • Healthy people should delay strenuous outdoor exercise until smoke has cleared.

  • Children and older people should avoid outdoor activity, especially prolonged outdoor exercise. 

  • People with heart disease, respiratory or chronic health issues should stay indoors.

  • Reduce the creation of indoor particulate matter (avoid cigarette smoking, grilling, burning candles and incense, vacuuming, etc.)

Smoke conditions can change quickly and vary greatly in El Dorado County because of the terrain, wind direction and weather. Individuals can assess air quality in their area by using the Smoke Visibility Index as follows:

  • Face away from the sun and look for targets at known distances (in miles). The visibility range is the distance at which high-contrast objects disappear.

  • After estimating the visibility in miles, use the following visibility index to assess air quality and determine appropriate precautions.

    Range (miles)


    Particulate Matter Level
    (1-hour average,

    Health Category



     0 – 38



    5 – 10

     39 - 88


    Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.

    3 – 5

     89 – 138

    Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

    Sensitive people should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

    1.5 – 3

    139 – 350


    Sensitive people should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

    1 – 1.5

     351 – 526

    Very Unhealthy

    Sensitive people should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.

    < 1 miles

     Over 526


    Sensitive people should remain indoors and keep activity levels low. Everyone else should avoid all physical activity outdoors.


    For more information about air quality issues in El Dorado County, please visit AQMD’s website at For up-to-date information on local fires visit:


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