Caldor fire threatens Lake Tahoe region with dangerous air quality levels


The ten most polluted cities in the United States are currently all in California and Nevada, as smoke from the massive Caldor fire linger in the area, according to air pollutant monitoring company IQ Air.

On Tuesday evening, Tahoe Vista, located along the north shore of Lake Tahoe, had an air quality index of 415, which is the highest level of concern and is considered “dangerous.” The concentration of the main pollutant, PM2.5, in the air is currently 37 times higher than what the World Health Organization recommends to breathe, according to IQ Air.

Earlier Sunday, Tahoe Vista exceeded the total Air Quality Index range of 0 to 500 when the area reached a score of 596. Anything above a score of 200 is considered unhealthy for all groups. of people, regardless of their health, senior director of climate and health at the Environmental Defense Fund, said Dr Elena Craft.

“There is currently a major health threat in the region,” she told CBS News. “It is very important to pay attention to the quality of the air.”

Craft said breathing smoke from a wildfire can lead to heart attacks, cardiac arrests, cancer and asthma attacks in those who suffer from them. She added that some of these health complications can occur within days of being exposed to polluted air.

“Just because you might be off fire right now, if you’ve been exposed in the past couple of days, it puts you at increased risk for some of these cardiovascular issues,” she said.

She recommended that residents of affected areas limit their exposure to air pollution, stay indoors, use an air filter or purifier in their homes, keep any asthma medication on standby. or the heart, reduce physical activity and closely monitor the weather. She also said that certain face masks can also help protect against air pollution.

“You really want to try to avoid being on the outside and being exposed, not only if you’re one of those vulnerable populations, but anyone,” Craft said. “It’s damaging your lungs.”

The US Department of Agriculture temporarily closed nine national forests, including the Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, until September 6 due to “extreme fire conditions.”

From Tuesday, the proximity Caldor’s fire burned 117,704 acres and is only 9% confined, Inciweb reports. The fire destroyed 455 structures and still threatens 17,000 more. On Monday, two fire-related injuries were reported and thousands of residents had to evacuate their homes, according to the governor’s emergency services office.

California officials said this week that Caldor was “knocking on the door of the Lake Tahoe Basin,” CBS Sacramento reported.

“We have every effort in place to keep it out of the basin, but we also need to be aware that this is a possibility based on how the fires burned,” said Chief Thom Porter, Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Monday.

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