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Two California fires leave Sparks under blanket of smoke
by Tribune Staff
Aug 22, 2013 | 1701 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Air Quality in the Truckee Meadows reached an "unhealthy" point at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon when government authority AirNow reported a 166 Air Quality Index (AQI) rating, which was explained as causing health concerns for all people.

The AQI can be thought of a "yardstick that runs from 0 to 500," according to airnow.gov, and the greater the number, the greater the pollution and risk on public health. The Reno-Sparks area was slated to have moderate ratings, scoring between 51-100 AQI, for Thursday and Friday, but dipped into the unhealthy range in late afternoon.

The Washoe County School District contacted parents and students in the community saying all outdoor activities and athletic practices were cancelled due to the poor air quality and potential risk of student-athletes undergoing prolonged or strenuous cardiovascular workouts.

Smoke has infiltrated the Reno-Sparks area from forest fires burning near Yosemite, Calif. and the Tahoe National Forest. Fire crews have contained about 60 percent of the American Fire in the Tahoe National Forest, which has burned more than 16,000 acres of land, according to the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported more than 80 square miles of land had been torched in the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park and forced nearby residents to evacuate.

Back in the Rail City, locals attending the final day of the Sparks Farmer's Market in downtown Sparks did not wander through the streets for long. Market president Shirley Sponsler said the smoke had an effect on the number of attendees to the market, but added that numbers for the market tend to decrease in August once WCSD students return to school.
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