|1||Three Rivers, California|
|2||Mammoth Lakes, California|
|5||June Lake, California|
|8||North Fork, California|
|9||Lone Pine, California|
|10||Bass Lake, California|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 54 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 13.5 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Quincy air is currently 1 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Tuesday, Sep 14|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 111 US AQI
|Wednesday, Sep 15|
Moderate 86 US AQI
|Thursday, Sep 16|
Moderate 66 US AQI
|Friday, Sep 17|
Good 50 US AQI
Moderate 54 US AQI
|Sunday, Sep 19|
Good 20 US AQI
|Monday, Sep 20|
Good 18 US AQI
|Tuesday, Sep 21|
Good 48 US AQI
|Wednesday, Sep 22|
Good 33 US AQI
|Thursday, Sep 23|
Good 31 US AQI
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Quincy, formerly known as Quinsy, is located within Plumas County in the state of California. It is the seat of said county, and home to just under 2000 inhabitants, as per a census conducted in 2010. In late July and August of 2021, it was seen with extremely high levels of air pollution present, mirroring the high levels of pollution seen in the latter months of 2020, which were wracked with extreme cases of fires, causing the US AQI and PM2.5 reading to skyrocket.
The US AQI reading itself is a number aggregated from the various main pollutants found in the air. these include ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and the two forms of particle pollution, PM2.5 and PM10.
PM2.5 itself is also used prevalently as a unit of pollution measurement due to the significant danger that it presents to human health when inhaled. The constituents of PM2.5 are particles that are 2.5 micrometer or less, being materials such as metal, sulfates, soot, water droplets and other liquids, mold and bacteria, along with dust and finely ground silica or gravel particles, many of which can have severe effects on people’s health, being carcinogenic and able to travel far into the body due to their minute sizes.
Regarding the US AQI levels, which as mentioned are calculated from the volume of the main pollutants, readings going up to 573 were recorded in late July and early August. These are extremely high readings, which placed Quincy into the hazardous rating bracket, which requires a US AQI reading of anywhere beyond 250.5 to be classified as such. The hazardous rating is the highest possible classification, indicating that not only is the air quality extremely dangerous, as the name would suggest but is over double that of the reading required to be classed as hazardous, making it a time period in which the health of those in the vicinity would be at significant risk. This rating is color-coded as maroon, with all of the higher pollution ratings having darker colors accompanying them, used for ease of navigation and reference when observing the air quality maps and forecasts available on this page and throughout the IQAir website.
Other US AQI readings that were taken throughout July show that pollution conditions have been jumping between extremes of highs and lows. The very first day of August only presented with a US AQI reading of 16, placing it in the 'good' air quality rating bracket, color-coded as green and being one of the most optimal pollution rating brackets. Days prior, however, came in with increased readings once again of 66 at the very end of July, placing it within the 'moderate' air quality rating bracket, and days before that coming in at 169, indicating an 'unhealthy' level of air quality, color-coded as red and requiring a US AQI reading of 151 to 200 to be classified as such.
With such a wide variety of US AQI readings, it can be seen that a highly polluting event such as a wildfire is taking place, either in the direct vicinity to Quincy or in the surrounding regions. Meteorological conditions such as a lack of rain and wind directions can cause heavy clouds of smoke to blow many miles away from their sources, polluting cities and towns great distances away from the actual burn site.
Further higher readings taken over late July were figures of 232 and 267, classified as being in the ‘very unhealthy’ rating bracket, and even higher readings of 417 and 525, up again in the hazardous rating bracket. These figures display that every level of pollution classification was achieved within a very short period in Quincy, a situation whereby the citizens would be at extreme risk of adverse effects occurring.
As such, Quincy can be considered to have very good qualities of air, and when heavy polluting events are not taking place, the US AQI readings can indicate air that is very safe to breathe. During the bouts of extreme air pollution, caution should be practiced, particularly amongst the more vulnerable members of the population. Outdoor movement should be halted, and strenuous activities such as exercise should also be stopped to prevent any extra inhalation of hazardous materials. Doors and windows should be sealed, along with running indoor air purifiers, if possible, to reduce the overall pollution level that may accumulate within one’s own house or place of business.
As mentioned, the most significant causes of pollution taking place within the vicinity of Quincy are wildfires, which can cause massive elevations in the US AQI and PM2.5 readings as were mentioned above. During the height of the US AQI reading also mentioned, when a figure of 573 was on record, the PM2.5 count was found to be 61 times over the World Health Organization's recommendation for a safe level of exposure. Exposure to his level of ultrafine particles can carry with it a myriad of health risks, some of which will be discussed in short.
Besides fires causing the most prominent bouts of air pollution, there would also be several other sources worth mentioning, which typically contribute more to ambient year-round pollution readings. These include pollution sources such as emissions and fumes from vehicles, with cars, motorbikes and heavy freight vehicles all giving off their chemical pollutants and fine particles. Besides the fumes released from the engines, eventual wear and tear from tires can also produce many tons of microscopic rubber particles, which can enter into the atmosphere as well as contaminating nearby bodies of water and the soil.
Other sources include emissions from power plants, factories and industrial areas, along with construction sites, road repairs and demolition sites all contributing to the ambient pollution levels. As it remains, the more severe pollution spikes in Quincy come directly from the forest fires that can occur during certain months of the year.
Health issues that may occur from exposure to large elevations in pollution include dry coughs and chest pain, along with skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema. Cancer rates can go up significantly, along with other severe issues such as ischemic heart disease, strokes, arrhythmias, heart attacks and even death in more severe cases.
Looking at the PM2.5 levels captured throughout 2020, it can be seen that Quincy had its most severe pollution spells during the wildfires that took place throughout the state. Whilst they are not truly indicative of when pollution levels will be at their highest every year, they can still act as indicators as to when fires may occur as well as the extent of the air pollution that they can cause.
The months of August and September had the most elevated readings of PM2.5, coming in with figures of 75.4 μg/m³ and 133.6 μg/m³. These were well within the 'unhealthy' rating bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. The months following these also had mildly elevated readings, albeit far less severe. October through to December had readings of 16 μg/m³, 13.9 μg/m³ and 15.8 μg/m³, placing them within the 'moderate' rating bracket.
Observing the PM2.5 levels seen throughout 2020, it can be seen that despite the extremely high levels of air pollution and resulting chemical pollutants and fine particles that would be permeating the air, there were still months in which the air quality was dramatically improved, with levels of cleanliness that belie the years extremely poor rating due to fires.
The months of March through to July had the best levels of air quality, all of which came in within the World Health Organization's target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less. Their respective readings were 5.9 μg/m³, 4.5 μg/m³, 3.1 μg/m³, 3.2 μg/m³ and 5.6 μg/m³ (along with January coming in with a still acceptable air quality reading of 11.8 μg/m³, placing it just within the 'good' air quality rating bracket).
Out of the aforementioned months, May and June had the cleanest levels of air quality, being many times lower than the highest reading of the year, which in of itself was already extensively inflated due to the devastating effects that fires can have on the environment. Their readings of 3.1 μg/m³ and 3.2 μg/m³ indicated that the air would be extremely breathable and of great quality, and at times such as these, all portions of the population would be able to conduct their day to day activities free from the risk of respiratory aggravation, with outdoor movement and exercise being opportune, in vast contrast to the heavily polluted months in the above question, which carry with them many issues when exposure occurs, particularly over a long period. The US AQI reading at such times would also fall considerably within the 'good' rating bracket, the most optimal rating that can be achieved.
Looking at the levels of air pollution recorded over the last few years, it can be seen that Quincy saw a significant rise in its PM2.5 annual count in 2020, for the above-mentioned reasons and the considerable impact that the fires and other sources of pollution had on the air quality in Quincy, as well as throughout many other cities in the state of California, placing them in the top spot of most polluted cities in America and even coming in with very poor 2020 ratings, on the global circuit.
The readings from 2017 through to 2020 were, in sequential order, 13.3 μg/m³, 11.4 μg/m³, 8.2 μg/m³ and then 25.4 μg/m³ for 2020, as was mentioned previously. This placed the year of 2017 into the 'moderate' rating bracket, indicating relatively poor quality of air for an American city. An improvement was seen in the following year with the lower reading of 11.4 μg/m³, placing 2018 into the 'good' air quality rating bracket (10 to 12 μg/m³ required for classification, requiring a very fine margin of entry). This indicates that between 2017 and 2018, the latter had far fewer polluting events, being significantly freer from events such as wildfires, as well as being less heavily impacted by the ambient sources of air pollution.
A further improvement was seen in 2019, marking the cleanest year in Quincy in recent times. A considerably more respectable PM2.5 reading of 8.2 μg/m³ was recorded, placing the city within the World Health Organization's target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less, for the most optimal quality of air. Although the closer to 0 the reading becomes, the more optimal and clean the air is correspondingly, even falling within this target bracket indicates that much of the year would have seen cleaner air, free from larger clouds of smoke from wildfires, as well as instances of haze, smog and buildups of hazardous ultrafine particles.
This shows that Quincy was making considerable steps towards a cleaner environment over the last few years, before its record was skewed heavily by the events that occurred in 2020. Although much of the state was locked down and anthropogenic activity and movement largely halted due to the outbreak of covid-19 and the subsequent impact it had on many industries, with tourism being one of the most affected worldwide (and with less traveling and reduced usage of vehicles, there is typically a pollution reduction, although this was not always the case in many cities around the world, with the opposite occurring).
In closing, whilst Quincy had some of its worst levels of air quality in many years throughout 2020, these were largely due to some severe cases of forest fires, which continued to burn through much of the state of California and the Bay area. Readings of air pollution from 2020 will not be truly indicative of annual air quality measurements, and it may take future year's air quality readings to show how the level of air cleanliness truly is in Quincy, without being heavily distorted by extreme fires. A significant amount of improvement, however, was still seen between 2017 to 2019, indicating that there may be a continuing pattern of air quality improvement if and many of the surrounding regions can stay free from wildfires and the heavy polluting effects that they can bring.