Lake Tahoe’s Air Quality is Some of the Worst in North America

Firebrains | FireFire
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A smoky Alpine Meadows ski area. Credit: Alpine Meadows

Lake Tahoe has some of the worst air quality in North America right now. 

The prevailing winds are carrying smoke from the nearby Caldor Fire right into the Tahoe Basin.

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Current (8/24/21) air quality readings for the USA. Credit: iqair

At the time of writing, the lodge at the Alpine Meadows ski area has an air quality rating of 547, the worst in the region. The Air Quality Index goes up to 500. Anything beyond 500 is considered “beyond index.” Anything over 300 is “hazardous.”

 “Anything beyond 500, there isn’t really a number that can be calculated. It’s really 500-plus. It’s the worst it can get.”

– Brendan Schnieder, air quality specialist at the Washoe County Health District in Reno, Nevada told SF Gate

Smoke inhalation is a serious risk to many people’s health, especially if they have other health conditions like asthma. So what can we do about it? The Oregon Health Authority released the following recommendations to reduce the health effects of wildfire smoke:

  • Pay attention to local air quality reports
  • Limit outdoor activity as much as possible
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and keeping windows and doors closed
  • Do not add to indoor pollution by vacuuming, smoking, or burning anything inside
  • Drink lots of water to help reduce inflammation
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Tahoe air quality. Credit: iqair

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6 thoughts on “Lake Tahoe’s Air Quality is Some of the Worst in North America

  1. Cheers to Comrade Newsom. Blame entirely on global warming and take no responsibility for 100 years of forest mismanagement. A few of you have probably noticed the forest thinning taking place over Brockway Summit and Mt. Rose Highway. Those are the type of forest thinning initiatives that need to take place state wide because of the 100 years of forest mismanagement.

    There’s a huge population of non-violent drug offenders twiddling their thumbs in prison right now. Maybe lets reduce their sentences and put them to work cleaning up the forest. 5 years of concentrated work and our forests would be nice, cleaned up and healthy.

    Think people, think. Come on California. You are better than this. Saying only global warming is going to fix this is pretty ignorant.

    1. Dear “Sad Citizen”, the U.S. has suppressed fire in our forests for 110 years. How is that Newsom’s fault?

      1. I have a great idea….
        Let’s keep doing what we are doing. It’s going to work out great.

    2. To Sad Citizen: Prisoners have been used for decades for fire suppression and various forest management projects. They are trained at the California Correctional Center in Susanville, and several Conservation Camps around the state. These huge fires are all on U.S. Forest Service land, totally controlled by the agency, and the liitle money the U.S. Congress gives them (Thank Mitch McConnell). Newsome is an “innocent bystander”, just like the rest of us. If you don’t like this mess, then sign up for the $14/hr “unskilled labor” position, and show the rest of us how to do it right.

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