The Sonoma County Department of Health Services issued a health advisory Thursday night, warning community members about the onslaught of smoke from the Kincade Fire.
A large cloud of smoke enveloped north county Thursday morning, dissipating throughout the day. However, changing fire conditions and wind patterns mean that air quality going forward is unpredictable.
“We are hopeful that air quality conditions will improve after the weather changes,” the county’s advisory said. “This health advisory will remain in effect, until the air quality significantly and consistently improves.”
According to PurpleAir, a website that tracks air quality, air quality in Healdsburg peaked at a score of 413 on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. While PurpleAir quality reports are said to give off a high reading, a level of 413 is considered a “health alert,” indicating that people exposed to the elevated air quality for may experience serious health risks if exposed for 24 hours. Situations wherein the air quality is rated 300+ means that the general population is at a higher risk of health impact, rather than primarily health sensitive groups being impacted.
At 9:42 p.m. on Thursday night, north county’s air quality had a 10-minute average rating of 20, meaning the air quality is satisfactory and poses little or no risk to the public.
The Sonoma County Department of Health Services noted that, “when checking the AQI (air quality index), please note that federal certified monitors at EPA’s AirNow Fires site are most accurate (but have an update lag of two to three hours), and that PurpleAir is good for directional trends and changes over time, but is known to overestimate measurements in smoky conditions.”