Fires

Suffering from smoke pollution? ‘The end is not here but it’s in sight’

Learn how to properly use an N95 respirator

If used correctly, N95 respirators can help filter air to make it safer to breathe. These can helpful when air conditions are poor due to wildfire smoke.
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If used correctly, N95 respirators can help filter air to make it safer to breathe. These can helpful when air conditions are poor due to wildfire smoke.

As the Camp Fire burned for the second week, the National Weather Services said Friday the weekend forecast will not change the air for the better in most of Northern California.

In fact, meteorologists said the hazy conditions are likely to get worse before the air quality improves by early next week. There will be cool winds blowing but not strong enough to flush out the smoke.

“For one thing, we’re probably going to have a little bit more smoke in the air because we’re going to get a little bit more wind on these fires this weekend,” said Dan Keeton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. “The thing that’s going to change the whole smoke situation is the change in the weather pattern.”

TODAY’S AIR QUALITY

This live-updating map shows the combined readings for particulate matter and ozone.
AQI Animation - https://files.airnowtech.org/airnow/today/anim_aqi_sacramento_ca.gif
Source: airnow.gov

The difference will likely be rain that’s expected to fall as early as Wednesday and then for multiple days, he said.

“The end is not here but it’s in sight,” Keeton said. “It will improve early next week.”

The smoke is concentrated in the Sacramento Valley, extending the area just north of Butte and as far south as Stanislaus counties. In some cases, temperatures will be as much as 8 degrees lower than normal on account of less sunshine.

Keeton said there is a chance it will rain for several days, possibly into the weekend.

The shift in weather will be a welcome change for the region which has seen some of the worst air quality in a decade because of the Camp Fire, which is the deadliest and most destructive blaze in state history.

Testing sites for particulate matter throughout Northern California showed levels several times higher than before the fire. Right now, Keeton said: “The air is just sloshing around the valley and some of it has a thicker smoke than others so it can come and go.”

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