Bad air quality from Camp Fire’s smoke forces events in Sacramento to scrap plans

In East Sacramento, youth soccer was called off and outdoor cafes sat empty. Sacramento State canceled its Saturday night football game. Sunday’s Veteran’s Day parade in Sacramento is canceled.

Although the Camp Fire started in Paradise – a town roughly 80 miles north of Sacramento – wind has blown smoke and a reddish din into the region, causing air quality to reach dangerous levels for everyone.

The Air Quality Index for Sacramento was in the very unhealthy range at 3 p.m. on Saturday, which means there are significant pollutants in the air, according to the Spare The Air website. Everyone should avoid prolonged heavy outdoor exertion.


This live-updating map shows the combined readings for particulate matter and ozone.
AQI Animation -

The National Weather Service Center in Sacramento issued a dense smoke advisory in the Central Valley and the Delta through 4 a.m. Sunday, “basically when the wind dies down,” said spokesman Johnnie Powell.

“You can’t see when you’re driving a car,” Powell said. “The smoke is like fog.”

What to do if smoke is creating unhealthy conditions

Do not rely on simple masks for protection. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.

Instead, choose a “particulate respirator” that has been tested and approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safetly and Health (NIOSH). It will have the words “NIOSH” and either “N95” or “P100” on it.

Stay indoors and shut doors and windows. Keep indoor air as clean as possible. You may run an air conditioner but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Keep bathroom fans and window units turned off. Bathroom fans and window box fans can pull outside air into your home.

Canceled events in the Sacramento area

Several events were called off Saturday evening and Sunday, including Sacramento State football game against Northern Arizona University at Hornet Stadium.

The city of Sacramento canceled it’s eighth annual Veterans Day Parade, according to Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s Communications Director Mary Lynne Vellinga. The cities of Folsom and Roseville also canceled its Veterans Day events, as well.

City of Sacramento to distribute face masks

The City of Sacramento is planning to distribute face masks that properly protect against the small particles found in wildfire smoke, according to Daniel Bowers, the Director of Emergency Management for the City of Sacramento.

Browers said that the city is planning to distribute N-95 masks to anyone who needs it, as soon as plans are approved.

“We are working through a plan to open distribution points,” Browers said. “Once we get the authorization to enact this plan we’ll put out a press release about where to pick them up.”

Related stories from Sacramento Bee