Reno/Sparks, Nev. Aug. 27, 2021 – The Health Officer for the Washoe County Health District has downgraded the Stage 3 Emergency Episode issued on Monday, August 23 to a Stage 1 Emergency Episode which is the lowest level of the four Emergency Episode Stages. The air quality index (AQI) for the Reno-Sparks area is expected to be “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” through the weekend.

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The Stage 3 Emergency Episode was downgraded to a Stage 1 because the 24-hour PM2.5 AQI was less than 200. The 24-hour PM2.5 AQI is expected to be above 100 for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Those in sensitive groups including children, older adults, and those with heart/lung disease should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. The Dixie and Caldor Fires remain active and are continuing to contribute to the poor air quality in the region.

Expect improved air quality this weekend, but periods of smoke and haze are possible especially areas nearest the wildfires. AQMD has issued these recommendations to reduce exposure to smoke:

  • Check the AQI on both AirNow and AirNow’s Fire and Smoke Map for the AQI nearest you
  • If the smoke is affecting you, stay indoors and reduce activity
  • Replace you air filter in your home more frequently during wildfire smoke events
  • After periods of heavy smoke, air out your home when air quality has improved

During wildfires, the role of the AQMD is to provide the most current and accurate information and data possible so that the residents and businesses of Washoe County can make the best decisions possible regarding their health.

AQMD can issue a Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, and Stage 4 Emergency Episode with the Stage 4 being the most severe. More information on the stages can be found here. The Emergency Episode rule was recently revised and adopted by the District Board of Health on July 22, 2021. An air pollution Emergency Episode for Washoe County is not a state of emergency as issued by the Governor or President. The main purposes of an Emergency Episode are to notify the public of the air pollution levels, give recommendations to reduce exposure, and reduce or stop emissions from a local source if it is determined to be significantly contributing to the Emergency Episode.

Visit for additional information on the Air Quality Management Division.

The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.