Butte Co. records entire winter without Bad Air Quality Day

Mar 17, 2016 3:29 PM by News Staff

For the first time in over a decade and possibly on record Butte County went the entire winter season without a single bad air quality day. And we’re still going.

"I can believe this is one of the best we haven't smelled the smoke, it’s easier to breathe," said Melissa Stearns. Stearns is an avid athlete in the Butte County area and said the she can feel the days when the air quality is bad.

Winter usually brings bad air quality thanks to inversions, Butte County Air Quality Planner Jason Mandly said.

"Sometimes especially at nighttime on these really still nights, the cold air will pool towards the bottom of the valley,” he said. “With that cold air, nothing wants to rise including all the pollution."

But not this winter.

"I have noticed this year that it just feels clean and my lungs feel better," Stearns said.

"With El Nino you have a lot more storms coming through so that's more air movement which helps clean the atmosphere," Mandly said.

And that's great news for the runner in Stearns.

"I feel like I’ve been running faster than I normally do,” she said. “I don't know if that's just in my head!"

Mandly says in addition to the El Nino weather pattern, the county's "check before you light" program has contributed to our clean air.

"It was one of the cleanest winters that we've had for the past ten or so years," he said. "The public has really helped out (by) not using wood stoves on days where there could be a potential for air quality issues."

Something Stearns said she will continue to enjoy

"It’s been awesome,” she said. “I think the skies are just so much clearer, colors are way more vibrant."


Most Popular