Every morning Sharla McCadden takes a walk to start out the day and stay in shape. But since August 23rd, the Sparks, Nevada resident has not been able to get in her daily exercise routine.
“The air quality is keeping my family and I inside,” she said.
She is not alone. The Washoe County Health District issued an Air Quality Advisory to Southern Washoe County residents on August 23, 2013 through at least August 30, 2013 due to smoke from several fires including the Rim Fire and American Fire in California.
“I have suffered a week-long sinus headache due to the smoke,” said Laurie Altheide of Sparks. “My grandson Zander can’t play outside in the smoke, and we stay home a lot more than we would if it were clear.”
Since August 23rd Northern Nevada’s air quality has fluctuated from unhealthy for sensitive groups (such as children, the elderly and those with respiratory and heart conditions) to unhealthy for the general population as the wind and weather conditions have changed.
The American Fire in Placer County was anticipated to be contained by Thursday, but the Rim Fire, which is burning near Yosemite National Park, is only 30 percent contained, so the smoke filtering into the Northern Nevada basin may be around for a while.
“I am really tired of all the smoke,” said Reno resident Ron Derushe. His 11-year-old son, like other Washoe County School District students, has been kept inside for recess due to poor air quality. “His afterschool football program has been cancelled, too,” Derushe added.
Many outdoor events, including an air show at Tahoe and a food festival in downtown Reno, have been cancelled because of the smoky skies. High school sports teams, such as the Galena High School Grizzlies football team, are now conducting their practices inside the school.
Bishop Manogue High School, a private Catholic school in Reno, joined other schools throughout Washoe County on Thursday by cancelling all scheduled athletic events, including football games, cross country meets, and soccer tournaments scheduled for the weekend.
Even those who are staying inside and out of the haze are feeling the effects of smoke from California.
“I have gotten more headaches and my throat is scratchy,” said Sparks resident Susan Kriner. “I don’t want to go outside. My kids don’t want to go outside. It’s miserable. We enjoy the outdoors!”
Marleta Fong of Sparks agreed. “Our family is pretty active, so the smoke has put a damper on our usual activities. I have a 5k run that I’d like to do soon, and I’ve been unable to run outside to train for it. As an asthmatic, I have to be extra cautious. It’s been quite frustrating!”