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This chart shows average daily values. This measurement is the amount of fine particulate matter, measuring <2.5 microns in diameter; primarily from combustion. During the month of April, readings show low levels of PM2.5, staying well below the exceedance marker. Graphs submitted by NSAQMD

Clean air in April

The month of April brought 1.5 inches of rainfall and recorded zero exceedances of federal particulate standards in the Portola area, according to the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District (NSAQMD).

Since Jan. 1 of this year, the region received above-normal precipitation, but below-normal precipitation fell this past month, with four days of measured rainfall still below the measured totals in April 2018.

Average daily PM2.5, or particulate matter, for the month held at 12.3 micrograms/cubic meter, compared to 13.2 in the year prior. April is a good month historically for clean air, especially over the past few years, according to the NSAQMD, with values trending down.

CalFire’s Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit declared the beginning of fire season May 9, with normal temperatures and precipitation expected through August.

The NSAQMD reports that spring weather systems are likely to continue into June, and normal fire potential is expected through May and above normal potential starts in June, especially at lower elevations where there is a large crop of fine fuels from all of the rain. There was also an increase in tree mortality reported over the past year, per Northern California GACC, 5-1-19.

Julie Ruiz of NSAQMD noted that in terms of the ongoing Greater Portola Wood Stove Change-Out Program, there have been 45 new applications since the stove fair April 6, bringing applications to 413.

“Quincy Hot Spot and Wolf Creek Wood Stoves are busy doing estimates and scheduling installations,” Ruiz said.

Thus far, 300 installations are complete; replacing outdated heating devices with EPA certified heating devices in the Greater Portola area.

For more information about air quality, open burning, or the wood stove change-out program contact Julie Ruiz at 832-0102.

Shown is a comparison of the three monitoring sites in Plumas County — in Quincy, Chester and Portola. Portola consistently has higher levels of PM2.5 in the winter than Quincy and Chester.

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