Saturday, 22 September, 2018

California Wildfires Leave Air Quality Unhealthy, Health Measures To Follow

View of Downtown San Francisco covered in smoke resulting from the wildfires in Wine Country View of downtown San Francisco covered in smoke resulting from the wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties
Melinda Barton | 12 October, 2017, 15:34

The air pollution district advises that people impacted by wildfire smoke limit their outdoor activities, stay indoors with winds and doors closed, and set air conditioning units and auto vents to recirculate.

People residing dozens of miles from the fire zone, including San Francisco and San Jose, have complained about the smell of smoke since the fires started Sunday night, CBS SF Bay Areareported.

"We're seeing elevated levels of particulate matter that are higher than we've ever seen since we began measuring that in 2000", said Lisa Fasano of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

As of Tuesday morning 15 people had been killed in the fires and officials said that number was likely to rise.

According to officials, the smoke is the result of a wind shift that is pushing smoke from the Bay area fires, and a couple of prescribed burns in Madera County, into the Fresno area. Windows and doors should be kept closed.

The advisory also cautioned the Bay Area residents, especially in the Napa and Sonoma counties, to protect their health. The smoke in the air is due to a series of wildfires in Northern California. Air district officials also asked that people avoid any activities like wood burning, lawn mowing, leaf blowing, driving or barbecuing that can add to the air pollution. Anyone exposed to poor air quality or wildfire smoke should move inside to an air-conditioned environment.

Individuals most at risk for illness due to smoke in the air include children, seniors and those with respiratory problems.