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Three monitoring sites in Plumas County — Portola, Chester and Quincy — show results well below the national standard. The chart shows average daily values. BAM 2.5 data is available on an hourly basis at myairdistrict.com. This measurement is the amount of fine particulate matter measuring <2.5 microns in diameter; primarily from combustion. Graphs courtesy of NSAQMD

Portola keeps the air clear

As the seasons change from summer to autumn and the Walker Fire edges closer toward complete containment, the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District looks back at air quality during the month of August.

According to Julie Ruiz, Air Pollution Control Specialist with NSAQMD, there weren’t any daily exceedances of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for particulate matter, known as PM2.5, in August.

Exceedances aren’t typically recorded through the summer months, unless Plumas County is impacted by wildfire smoke.

There was a bit of rainfall recorded over the month, and lightning occurrence was below average, limited mainly to two events.

Most of the region held to the average with temperatures, with the region expected to be warmer and drier than normal through December, according to Northern California GACC.

NSAQMD reminds Portola citizens that the city of Portola passed Ordinance No. 354 on July 24, banning all open burning of yard waste and debris within city limits, with all outdoor residential burning in Plumas County suspended by CalFire as of July 15.

Looking forward

The community is encouraged to remember a few key items as colder weather approaches. Now is the time to purchase wood, have it split and stacked for effective drying, according to the NSAQMD, and all should prepare to get wood in a shed or under a tarp before the rains come.

Other ways to keep the air clear include burning only seasoned wood that has been cut for a year or more. Be a good neighbor — don’t let smoke from a burn pile or wood stove drift into the breathing zone of neighboring properties.

Residents with older, uncertified wood stoves are encouraged to upgrade to EPA-certified stoves. To decrease emissions further, upgrade to pellet, fuel oil or propane stoves, or electric heating.

Greater Portola Wood Stove Change Out Program

As of Aug. 31, 432 applications have been received for the change-out program, 404 pre-approval letters have been sent out, and 330 installations are complete.

For more information about the program or for any air concerns, contact Julie Ruiz at 832-0102. For real time Portola air quality, visit myairdistrict.com.

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