Today, September 23, 2021, the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District has issued a Smoke Advisory for the Tri-Community through Friday, September 24, 2021.
The advisory was issued about 2:00 pm and is in effect for the entire Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD). High Desert residents awoke to a greyish-red overcast morning, not the usual bright blue sunlight that typically shines through the window most mornings. The mood was somber and eerie, and many wondered what was going on. This time of year, many are on fire watch and immediately went outside to scan the horizon for any evidence of fire. None was to be found, not even the smell of smoke. According to a statement issued by the MDAQMD, the cloud cover was, indeed, smoke. At that point in the day, the smoke remained aloft in the upper atmosphere and the “ambient air quality” remained unaffected, thus no telltale signs of fire like the smell of smoke or burning of the eyes or settling smoke at ground level.
By about 1:00, around the Tri-Community, residents could smell smoke, and a smokey haze had begun to settle in. The MDAQMD issued the Smoke Advisory at about 2:30 pm on Thursday. Regulated monitors and low-cost sensors began showing a measurable increase in PM2.5–the pollutant found in wildfire smoke.
Levels of PM2.5 may continue to increase depending on fire containment and shifting winds.
Smoke from the wildfires burning in Central California is impacting the air quality in the Tri-Community, which has largely, to this point, escaped any impact of the large wildfires that have been burning in the Pacific Northwest over the past two months. Unfortunately, wildfires have been steadily creeping further south as we move further into fall. In fact, the Bobcat Fire, which burned 115,796 acres, started on September 9, 2020, an indicator that the Tri-Community is still in the fire season. Several major fires are now burning in Central California, such as the KNP Complex fire and Windy Fire, which are now throwing smoke towards the Tri-Community, should serve as a warning for what may come.
Increasing levels of smoke can affect everyone, but it’s particularly unhealthy for those with heart and respiratory illnesses, children, seniors, and active adults.
In any area impacted by poor air quality, including smoke:
- everyone should consider avoiding any vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion;
- people with respiratory or heart disease, older adults, and children should consider remaining indoors;
- keep windows and doors closed;
- run your air conditioner if you have one – recirculation function is ideal;
- avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing outdoor pollutants inside.
The Smoke Advisory remains in effect until Friday, September 24, 2021. You can check weather conditions and the Tri-Community Air Quality at 4newsplus.com