The Minerva fire continues to burn south of Quincy. The wildfire that started Saturday has now burned 1,700 acres and is now 30 percent contained.
While no evacuations have been ordered for the Minerva fire, the National Forest Service is asking Quincy residents to prepare for the possibility. Meanwhile those living in the area have to cope with another danger — haze.
Sam Longmire is the air pollution control specialist with the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management district.
“Smoke is composed of very fine particles that can lodge themselves deep in human lungs and can cause short-term and long-term problems,” he said.
That’s why Longmire’s office is extending a Health Advisory for Quincy and Plumas counties. The advisory means that breathing the outside air can be hazardous to your health, especially for certain groups, like the elderly, children, or those with illnesses. It’s also important to pay extra attention to how you’re feeling.
“It’s a good idea to actually contact your doctor if you feel like you’re really being affected,” Longmire said. “Sometimes smoke will sort of unmask problems like asthma or something that may not have been observed before.”
There are a number of precautions that you should take to avoid the dangers of breathing in too much smoke
“It’s best to minimize outdoor activities even if you’re healthy, stay indoors with windows closed as much as reasonably possible and you can put the air conditioner on recirculate,” he said.
Air quality can change rapidly as wind directions shift. So even if you live outside of Plumas or Quincy, you should follow this general rule:
“Basically we’re advising people to take it easy when they see and smell smoke,” Longmire said.
The air quality health advisory has been extended for both Plumas and Sierra counties through Friday. To find out if your air quality is being impacted by the Minerva fire visit www.myairdistrict.com.