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Some thoughts on the air quality issues:
-I have to say that the smoke generated from
backpacker fires isn't much compared to that from
prescribed and managed wildland fires in the Sierra
(which will be increasing considerably in the coming
-Yosemite valley's topography combined with the
concentration of use certainly makes smoke a problem
here - in fact the only PM monitor in Mariposa county
is located here and we regularly exceed the state
standards for PM10. But, there are other valleys that
can get pretty smoky in the winter due to residential
burning (I live in one myself).
-Vehicle emissions are the primary source of ozone
precursors, which, when combined with sunlight, create
high levels of ground level ozone, or smog. This
ozone is transported into the Sierra from the Central
Valley. The levels exceed both state and federal
standards, and injure sensitive plants, among other
-And then there is regional haze, pesticide transport,
dust storms from Asia, and, well thats enough...
The point was (I think!)that it isn't a campfire vs
vehicle issue. There is a whole lot of stuff
contributing to poor air quality and banning all
backcountry campfires isn't make much of a dent.
Katy (who monitors air quality in Yosemite)
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