Wednesday Aug 22 2012
Smoke in Auburn caused by 400,000 acres of burning land
By: Journal Staff Report
Four fires in surrounding counties affecting air
AUBURN CA - If you noticed smoke Wednesday in Auburn, it was drifting from a string of fires moving toward the foothill region from the north. Fire crews were responding to fires burning more than 400,000 acres in five different surrounding counties, Cal Fire reported. Ann Hobbs, pollution control specialist with Placer County Air Pollution Control, said the Auburn area was virtually smoke-free in the morning as smoke moved into Nevada and Yuba counties. By noon, smoke began to drift farther southward into Auburn, resulting in concerns fielded at the Auburn air district office from worried callers wondering if a fire had broken out nearby. Instead, they were informed that smoke was coming from several fires north of Placer County. The fires include: - About 314,000 acres burned in the Rush Fire in Lassen County - About 62,000 acres burned in the Chip Fire in Plumas County - About 24,000 acres burned in the Ponderosa Fire in Tehama and Shasta counties - About 1,600 acres burned in the Mill Fire in Tehama and Butte counties Cal Fire Captain Brian York with the Cal Fire Grass Valley command center said a shift in weather to a more “northerly wind pattern” was causing the smoke to drift to the Auburn area. Hobbs said that while Nevada County had issued a health advisory, Placer County continued to monitor the situation and smoke levels Wednesday afternoon without issuing one. “People could see visibility decreasing but we were not at a point where we needed an advisory,” Hobbs said. A health advisory can include recommendations for people with breathing issues to remain inside. A major concern is the fine particulate matter in smoke, which can lead to breathing problems. “If we saw the numbers shooting up, we’d issue an advisory,” Hobbs said.