RED FLAG WARNING, FIRE WEATHER WATCH AND DENSE SMOKE ADVISORY ISSUED FOR MAMMOTH LAKES AND UNINCORPORATED MONO COUNTY
Many of us awoke Sunday morning to very poor air quality, with particulate pollution from wildfires in the very unhealthy range in Mono County. In some areas, conditions warrant a Stage 2 Health Advisory by the Great Basin Pollution Control District.
At the same time, the local risk of wildfire is extremely high with excessive temperatures, dry vegetation and expected windy conditions in coming days. Residents and visitors should maintain situational awareness and be prepared for evacuation. In Mono County fire restrictions are in effect. No campfires are allowed outside of developed campgrounds on the Inyo National Forest.
The National Weather Service in Reno (www.weather.gov/rev) has issued the following hazardous weather condition alerts for Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra.
- Special Weather Statement
- Dense Smoke Advisory – September 6
- Red Flag Warning – September 7 until September 8
- Fire Weather Watch – September 8
A Special Weather Statement for very warm daytime temperatures near or above 90 degrees in mountain communities, dry conditions, and smoke impacts through Labor Day Weekend.
A Dense Smoke Advisory is in effect on Sunday, September 6. Smoke from the Creek Fire on the west slopes of the Sierra is bringing unhealthy to locally hazardous air quality, especially south of Bridgeport. Visibilities below 3 miles are possible, mainly in the high Sierra. Please visit InciWeb for updated fire conditions (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/) or the Inyo National Forest website (www.fs.usda.gov/main/inyo/home).
The Great Basin Unified Control District (www.gbuapcd.org) has issued a Stage 2 Health Advisory through Labor Day Weekend for Mono County due to smoke from the Castle, Creek and Slink Fires. A Stage 2 Health Advisory recommends everyone refrain from strenuous outdoor activities in the impacted area. This website also has more detailed information about health risks and recommendations related to particulate air pollution.
People react differently to smoke exposure – some people are more sensitive than others. Wildfire smoke contains a lot of stuff: gases and particles, depending on what is burning and how far away the fire is from your home. From a community health perspective, very small airborne particles (particulate pollution) are most important. Small particles are inhaled deep into the lungs where they may cause inflammation. Particle pollution also often causes local irritation of the eyes and throat.
When smoke levels reach potentially unhealthy levels, we recommend that people stay indoors as much as possible, with windows and doors closed, swamp coolers off and air conditioners on recirculate, if they have that function. In hot weather, like now, that may feel like being between a rock and a hard place–balancing the possible harm from smoke against that of heat.
Air Quality and Smoke Condition websites:
- AirNow (https://fire.airnow.gov/) provides current air quality information in terms of the Air Quality Index, or AQI, a nationally standardized system for pollution reporting that some people may be more familiar with.
- The U.S. Forest Service has a helpful site that provides a 72-hour forecast of wildfire smoke conditions: https://tools.airfire.org/websky/v2/run/standard/CANSAC-1.33km/current#viewer.
- Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “Public Health Strategies to Reduce Exposure to Wildfire Smoke during the COVID-19 Pandemic” online at: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/covid-19/reduce_exposure_to_wildfire_smoke_covid-19.html.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect from 1:00pm on Monday, September 7 to 11:00am Tuesday, September 8 for gusty winds and low humidity for the Eastern Sierra.
A Red Flag Warning is the highest alert issued in advance of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. The Town and County urges all residents and visitors to use extreme caution as a simple spark could cause a major wildfire. Avoid outdoor activities that can cause a spark near dry vegetation, such as yard work or campfires.
A Fire Weather Watch in in effect for Tuesday, September 8 for gusty winds and low humidity in the Eastern Sierra.
The Town advises residents and visitors to be prepared for an emergency or evacuations by doing the following:
- Listening to KMMT 106.5 or Sierra Wave 92.5
- Register for CODE RED (download the app and sign up for IO and Android online at: https://monosheriff.org/sheriff/page/codered-emergency-alert-system
- Follow the Town/County website and Facebook sites:
- Mono County Sheriff
- Mammoth Lakes Police Department
- Town of Mammoth Lakes
- Mono County
- Call the Town of Mammoth Lakes Public Information line: (760) 965-3612
- Visit the Town’s Emergency Information webpage: https://www.townofmammothlakes.ca.gov/379/Emergency-Information
Be prepared by having an emergency plan and in the event of an emergency, please call 911 for assistance.