GBUAPCD Air Blog

Dust and smoke issues in the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District

Archive for July, 2013

Smoke from Aspen Fire impacting health

Posted by admin on July 30, 2013

This morning, Great Basin District staff met with Richard Johnson, M.D., MPH, the Inyo and Mono Counties Public Health Officer to discuss the health impacts and implications from the continued Aspen Fire smoke.  He reported that there had been an increase in hospital and clinic visits in Mono County, especially in Mammoth Lakes . Based on the particulate matter levels from our monitors, Dr. Johnson also offered some Wildfire Smoke Response Guidelines in a statement issued yesterday, “Great Basin Air Advisory” at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3552/19545/.  The District is working to revise our public advisory notifications and website to better address smoke impacts (stay tuned).

The smoke will continue for several more days.  The fire is only 25% contained and grew to over 14,000 acres (3,000 more acres than reported yesterday).  Winds will remain predominantly from the southwest, directing the smoke towards Mammoth Lakes.  Yesterday, satellite analysis showed most of the smoke drifting northeast across Mono County.  Yet, this does not account for the increase in particulate concentrations in Bishop this morning, which reached the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” level as shown in the table in the previous blog post.

This afternoon, the satellite smoke analysis below showed a marked decrease in the impact to the east side of the Sierra.  This does correlate to what we are seeing locally.  This can only be expected to be temporary relief, however.

Aspen Smoke 2013-07-30

Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Smoke from Aspen Fire impacting health

Smoke levels from Aspen Fire

Posted by admin on July 26, 2013

Mammoth Lakes and other communities have been experiencing elevated levels of particulate matter from the Aspen Fire.  Historically, the District has only issued health advisories when hourly particulate pollution levels exceed 400 microgram per cubic meter (µg/m3).

For wildfire smoke, the public can compare the particulate matter levels in various communities found on the Air Quality page at http://www.gbuapcd.org/data/index.htm to the statements in the Air Quality Index (AQI) table below (click on the table for a full-size, more readable version, then the back arrow on your browser to return to this page).  Mammoth Lakes has had hourly values in the Unhealthy range and 24-hour averages in the Moderate and Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups ranges.  Bishop has experienced hourly and average values in the Moderate range.  Updates on the Aspen Fire can be found at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3552/.  More information on AQI and smart phone apps for AQI can be obtained at http://www.airnow.gov/.

AQI Table

 

Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Smoke levels from Aspen Fire

Aspen Fire in Fresno County

Posted by admin on July 24, 2013

The smoke in Mammoth Lakes and Owens Valley this morning is from the Aspen Fire about 30 miles due west of Aspendell (37.279,-119.318) that started by lightning on Monday evening, July 22, 2013.  As of this press release last night, Aspen Fire_July 2013, it was only 300 acres.  Now it has grown to over 2,000 acres and is 0% contained (See Inciweb report: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3552/).  There is an expectation that the blaze will grow to 6,000 acres over the next few days, so smoke production will be pretty steady.

Predominant WSW winds will continue throughout today to bring the smoke over to the Mammoth Lakes and Owens Valley area, where it will tend to drift south.  Overnight and early tomorrow morning, the smoke at the burn location should settle down into the drainages on the west side of the Sierra crest.  Here, on the east side, we can expect the smoke that makes it over the crest to linger for the next couple of days because a weak high pressure will result in poor dispersion conditions and today’s pattern is predicted to repeat tomorrow.

Aspen Fire location:

Aspen Fire Location

Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Aspen Fire in Fresno County

Mountain Fire smoke update

Posted by admin on July 19, 2013

We’ve actually been quite fortunate so far not to get the brunt of the smoke from the Mountain Fire, which continues to grow down by Palm Springs.  Apparently, the light winds near the blaze have been predominantly from the southeast.  So the smoke has had a much greater impact in the Los Angeles (South Coast) and San Joaquin Valley air basins (see map below).

Smoke Detect 2013-07-19_1525PDT

Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Mountain Fire smoke update

Mountain Fire update

Posted by admin on July 18, 2013

Overnight, the Mountain Fire grew 8,600 more acres from the previous report to a total of 22,800 acres. Winds over the area between Palm Springs and the Great Basin valleys airshed are light and erratic so there has not been a direct, sustained transport of the smoke.  Modeling show this pattern persisting through Tuesday of next week.  Air quality has improved from yesterday afternoon to a level considered “good” despite the visible haze.  The satellite imagery analysis of the smoke (below) at 10:43 this morning shows that bulk of the plume is remaining further south.

Smoke Detect 2013-07-18_1043PDT

Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Mountain Fire update

Mountain Fire southwest of Palm Springs

Posted by admin on July 17, 2013

The Mountain Fire, which started on July 15, 2013, has just now been reported at 14,200 acres.  For an in-depth report, visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3516/.  Below is an image of the smoke plume as analyzed from satellite imagery this afternoon.  GFS modeling indicates that the Great Basin valleys airshed will be fairly stable for the next 4 to 5 days, so the smoke is expected linger during that timeframe.  By EPA’s Air Quality Index (API), the current air quality is “moderate”, or “acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.”  See http://www.airnow.gov/ for details on the classification and recommendations.

Smoke Detect 2013-07-17_1625PDT

Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Mountain Fire southwest of Palm Springs

Asian Particulate Transport Video (Financial Times)

Posted by admin on July 1, 2013

Short video discussing Asian pollution migration: http://video.ft.com/v/2506012869001/California-wrestles-with-pollution-from-Asia

Posted in Dust, Haze | Comments Off on Asian Particulate Transport Video (Financial Times)