Due to smoke from the South Fork Fire east of Wawona in Yosemite National Park, visitors and residents may experience some health effects while in the area.
An Air Resource Advisor, working with the Incident Management Team, the Park staff, and local Air Pollution and Health Departments, issues a daily Smoke and Air Quality Outlook. The Outlook includes a summary of smoke and fire activity and a forecast of the expected air quality relative to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and when smoke conditions will be better or worse during the forecast period to help residents and visitors make necessary health-based decisions.
The forecasts follow EPA’s 24-hour Air Quality Index (AQI) color-coded categories for ease of connecting the situation directly to health effects. Exposure to shorter durations of high levels of smoke can also have effects on healthy as well as sensitive people. Sensitive groups include people with respiratory and circulatory disorders (asthma, emphysema, COPD for example), as well as people with smaller lung capacities – young children and babies as well as the elderly.
Here is a short list of actions which can be taken to reduce or avoid impacts.
Reduce physical activity – your body does not function as efficiently in smoke as it does in clean air. Even healthy firefighters utilize this technique.
Drink plenty of water – frequently overlooked, water helps the body and the lungs clear out the very small smoke particles.
Spend a number of hours in clean air – Most impacts are short-termed and being in clean air for a number of hours helps the body clean out the passageways.
Keep windows closed in houses (keep at LEAST one room clean) and your car air conditioner on recirculate – do not bring in outside air, it can be very difficult to clear out.
Plan to leave the area, if possible, for someplace clear during the periods of highest smoke concentrations.
These are only SOME of the options available to us. Please refer to https://airnow.gov/, the fact sheet issued by the Yosemite Safety Office on Wildfire Smoke and Public Health and statements issued by the Mariposa County Health Department, http://www.mariposacounty.org/index.aspx?nid=1434.