Health District Issues Stage 3 Air Quality Emergency Episode

Aug 23, 2021

Reno/Sparks, Nev. Aug. 23, 2021 – The Washoe County Health District – Air Quality Management Division (AQMD) has issued a Stage 3 Emergency Episode due to smoke from area wildfires. The air quality index (AQI) for the Reno-Sparks area is expected to be “Very Unhealthy” to “Hazardous” at times Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

The Stage 3 Emergency Episode was issued because the PM2.5 AQI was over 200 for a 24-period of time. It also means that all residents should stay indoors as much as possible. This is the first time AQMD has issued a Stage 3 Emergency Episode. The Caldor Fire is the main wildfire contributing to the poor air quality.

To see current air quality in Reno-Sparks, click here; for information on what the air quality index colors mean, click here.

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Expect periods of heavy smoke during the first half of the week depending on wind patterns and proximity to the Caldor Fire smoke plume. AQMD has issued these recommendations to reduce exposure to smoke:

  • Everyone should stay indoors and avoid any outdoor activity
  • Stay indoors with the windows and doors closed
  • Consult your physician for health questions, especially those with heart and lung issues
  • Create a clean air room

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.

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.