Wildfires and Air Quality

District Wildfire News and Advisories

October 11, 2019: Smoke from the Caples Prescribed Burn in El Dorado County may be visible aloft over portions of Butte County while it remains active.

Take action to reduce your exposure to future wildfire smoke events. See this Press Release for more information.

Fire and Smoke Information
Current Cal-Fire Incidents
Current Federal Incidents
California Smoke Blog
AirNow Fire and Smoke Mapping
AlertWildfire Webcam Network
Purple Air Sensor Map (Unofficial Air Sensor Data): Note: The District is operating a Purple Air sensor in Biggs, Nord, Oroville, Chico, Thermalito, and Durham. Data is unofficial and for informational use only.

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The major air pollutant of concern during wildfire impacts is fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5. While all persons may experience varying degrees of symptoms, the more sensitive individuals, such as the young, the elderly, pregnant women, smokers, and those with respiratory conditions are of greatest risk at experiencing more aggravated symptoms. These symptoms  may include, but are not limited to coughing, watery and itchy eyes, and difficulty in breathing.

Persons experiencing questionable or severe symptoms during smoky conditions should seek professional medical advice and treatment. The following actions are recommended as needed when wildfire smoke impacts your location:

• Limit your outdoor activities, especially children and people with chronic heart and lung diseases.
• Avoid the use of non-HEPA paper face mask filters and bandannas which are not capable of filtering extra fine particulates (more information). The use of the N-95 mask is helpful in reducing exposure to smoke in the air, however, people with respiratory conditions should not rely on the mask for full protection against harmful particulate matter. If you have a chronic respiratory condition or generally sensitivity, we still recommend limiting your time outdoors, using air conditioning in your home and car and ensuring that your home air filter is clean;
• Check or replace air conditioner filters. Higher MERV-rated filters are recommended (MERV-13 or higher). Run air-conditioners on the “re-circulate” setting, if available. A small percentage of newer homes have ventilation systems that actively bring in outdoor air. These should be turned off or set to a “re-circulate” mode. Do not run swamp coolers or whole house fans;
• If you need to drive through smoke, make sure your windows are closed and run your air conditioner on the re-circulate setting.
• If you do not have air conditioning and it is too hot to remain indoors during unhealthy conditions, consider temporarily relocating to an alternative location;
• Reduce sources of indoor air pollution.
• Avoid breathing in accumulated or airborne ash. Also avoid skin contact with accumulated ash, especially children and pets. Follow the precautionary measures on this EPA fact sheet.  DO NOT USE LEAF BLOWERS TO CLEAN ASH
• If you are having trouble breathing, seek medical assistance or call your primary care provider.

Butte County Air Quality Guidance for Schools.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has additional information on how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke.

EPA Smoke-Ready Toolbox

The Wildfire Smoke Guide, created for public health officials, has many helpful precautionary measures to help minimize the effects of smoke impacts from wildfires.

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