Wildfires and Air Quality

District Wildfire News and Advisories

Be prepared for wildfire smoke and create spaces in your home that can filter out smoke particulates. For more information, see this Joint Press Release issued by the Butte County Department of Public Health and our District.

The District has several high efficiency air cleaners available for loan during wildfire impacts to facilities located in Disadvantaged and Low Income Communities that can be freely open to the public during regular operating hours. For more information and to apply for an equipment loan, please use this Participation Form. Forms can be returned to jmandly@bcaqmd.org.

Fire and Smoke Information
-Current Cal-Fire Incidents
-Current Federal Incidents
-California Smoke Blog
-*Newly Updated in 2022* CARB’s Smoke Spotter App now includes sensor data and smoke forecasts for wildfires & prescribed burns.
-AirNow Fire and Smoke Map (now includes Purple Air sensor data!)
-Tutorial video on how to use the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map
-AlertCalifornia Webcam Network
-Purple Air Sensor Map (Unofficial Air Sensor Data): The District operates several sensors around Butte County.  Data is unofficial and for informational use only. It is suggested to use the “US EPA” conversion  for better accuracy.
-Experimental Smoke Forecast from the National Weather Service – Sacrament office.

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. 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.
• If you are having trouble breathing, seek medical assistance or call your primary care provider.

Additional Resources:

Butte County Public Health Wildfire Smoke Page

Butte County Air Quality Activity Recommendations for Butte County Schools

EPA Smoke-Ready Toolbox with various fact sheets on protecting yourself, children, and pets from wildfire smoke.

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

Information from the US EPA on how to build you own DIY box fan filter.

The US EPA approved the District’s Mitigation Plan to Reduce the Impacts of Wildfire Smoke in Butte County, California.

Wildfire Recovery and Debris Removal Information

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