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Seasonal Smoke and Ozone Advisory Issued Through September

The Clark County Department of Environment and Sustainability issued a season-long advisory for ground-level ozone pollution and wildfire smoke today that will be in effect from Friday, April 1 through Friday, Sept. 30. While the seasonal ozone advisory is standard, this marks the first year DES is issuing a seasonal smoke advisory. Officials say the seasonal smoke advisory is necessary as wildfire smoke drifting into Southern Nevada has occurred in four of the past five summers. Smoke can cause particulate matter pollution as well as influence ozone formation.

This is a necessary change to our seasonal air quality advisory due to the impacts of climate change, drought and other factors,” said DES director Marci Henson. “Wildfire smoke during the summer months has become the new normal for Las Vegas, right alongside ozone formation and we want to be sure the public is informed so they can make their best decisions moving forward.”

 According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, people who may be most sensitive to elevated levels of particulates and ozone include individuals with respiratory problems, cardiac disease, young children or senior citizens. Consult your physician if you have a medical condition that makes you sensitive to air quality conditions.

 Ozone is a colorless, odorless gas that exists naturally in the Earth’s stratosphere. At ground level, ozone is a key ingredient of urban smog that can build up during the day in the hottest months of the year due to strong sunlight, hot temperatures, gasoline and chemical vapors, pollutants from automobiles, wildfires and regional transport. Exposure to ozone can irritate your respiratory system and cause coughing, a sore throat, chest pain and shortness of breath even in healthy people, according to the EPA.

 Smoke is made of small particles and other pollutants that can aggravate respiratory diseases and contribute to ground-level ozone formation. Exposure to ozone can induce coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath even in healthy people.

SMOKE AND OZONE TIPS

  • Stay indoors when you smell or see smoke.
  • Limit outdoor activity and exertion when ozone levels are elevated – exercise makes you breathe heavier and increases the amount of ozone and particulates you may inhale.
  • Keep windows and doors closed. Run your air conditioner inside your house and car. Air conditioning filters out smoke and particulates.
  • Change your indoor air filters if they are dirty.
  • Schedule activities for the morning or evening when ozone levels are usually lower.
  • Substitute a less intense activity – walk instead of jog, for example.
  •  Always consult your doctor first for medical advice.


HELPFUL TIPS TO REDUCE OZONE

Because exhaust from cars, trucks and other vehicles are major contributors to ozone, people can follow these helpful, everyday tips to reduce ozone:

  • Reduce driving – combine errands into one trip.
  • Don’t idle your car engine unnecessarily.
  • Use mass transit or carpool.
  • Fill up your gas tank after sunset. Try not to spill gasoline when filling up and don’t top off your tank.
  • Keep your car well maintained.
  • Consider landscaping that uses less water and gas-powered equipment to maintain.
  • Turn off lights and electronics when not in use. Less fuel burned at power plants means cleaner air.