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Persistent haze in air over Crowley, other Long Valley communities is not unhealthy, experts say

March 25, 2014


Although most Mammothites might not notice it, the air quality over much of Long Valley for the past week has been less than crystal-clear, with a white haze obscuring the details of the White Mountains for many hours of many days.

It's not something to worry about, health wise, however, local air pollution control experts say. Rather, it's a product of several weeks of mostly stagnant air for the past week, which has trapped the smoke from prescribed burns on the west side of the Sierra, pollutants from Southern California and local woodsmoke in the area.

"Air quality can still be considered 'good' from an air pollution standpoint and obscure the Whites from Mammoth," said Jon Becknell, an air pollution control specialist with the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District.

"It isn’t considered unhealthy until you can’t see Laurel Mountain from Mammoth, at five to six miles away. The Whites are at least 35-40 miles from Mammoth. That’s a long view shed. This morning, the PM10 (air pollution particles) in Lone Pine, Bishop and Mammoth ranged from 5-12 mg/m3, a pretty homogeneous mix.

"This is barely above baseline concentrations. There has been a persistent, moderately high-pressure over us for about a week, preventing good dispersion. Under these conditions, local sources of particulates accumulate and we likely get transported pollutants from southern California, small fires and prescribed burns in the Sierra and the Central Valley."

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