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Air Quality Index at area and neighborhood level

Reno, Nevada air 7/26/2021
Reno, Nevada air 7/26/2021(Ed Pearce)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:44 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Just how bad is our air? You could step outside see for yourself, take a deep breath. (Actually that’s not recommended today.)

You could ask someone like Brandon Schneider of the Washoe County District Health Department. His job is monitoring our air quality.

“Currently in the last hour we are still in the very unhealthy AQI range, which is the Air Quality Index.”>

As you imagine he can back that up with real data.

Our Air Quality Index is actually a real number and these days it’s mostly concerned with one particular pollutant, the tiny particles of smoke in our air.

“That’s the primary concern.” says Schneider, “because they are so small they can go down into your lungs and can affect all sorts of health conditions.”

The official AQI is the highest reading at one of the health department’s four monitoring stations scattered throughout the valley. It’s a pretty good indicator, but Schneider says it can vary considerably throughout the area.

”Generally everyone is experiencing very unhealthy right now, but it could be worse or cleaner in certain parts of our area since we have such a large area to cover.”>

But if you want to know what the reading is in your neighborhood chances are, it’s available on the website AirNow.com’s Fire and Smoke page even if you don’t live near one of the official monitoring stations. That’s because one of your neighbors has set up a sensor in his backyard or business and they’re linked by wi-fi in a big network.

In recent years they’ve been popping up all over the area. It’s likely you live within a mile of one, unless you live in the outlying areas, the north valleys, Stead, Cold Springs. They’ve yet to show up there, though in time that’s likely to change. Like the high and low temperature, it’s the kind of information we’re all going to be curious about in the future.

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