California Wildfires Cause Air Quality to Drop to Dangerously Low Levels
The wildfires that ravaged the state of California over the last few weeks are largely under control. However, officials are warning the Golden State isn’t completely out of danger just yet.
“We’re pretty much in the mop-up stage,” Ventura County fire captain Steve Kaufmann told the Los Angeles Times, specifically pointing to the 70-percent containment of the latest blaze, the Maria fire, which erupted Thursday evening.
According to Cal Fire, the Kincade fire, which burned some 78,000 acres of land around Sonoma County and destroyed at least 370 structures, was 78 percent contained by Sunday night. But, even with that level of containment, the Los Angeles Times explained that many residents are still under evacuation orders and cannot head home just yet.
Unfortunately, despite all this incredible work by firefighters across the state to contain the fires, Mother Nature may have other plans.
"We're looking at the potential for drier and warmer than normal conditions extending into mid-November for interior NorCal," the National Weather Service Sacramento said in a tweet.
Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, additionally told the Los Angeles Times that residents of the state need to remain alert.
“The fire conditions are still in place,” Hoxsie said. Those conditions, the National Weather Service added, include dangerously low air quality in some areas.
“The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District has issued an air quality alert due to PM10 particulate pollution and PM2.5 wildfire smoke being transported into San Luis Obispo County,” the service warned. “Exposure to particulate pollution can cause serious health problems, aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and increase risk of respiratory infections.”
All residents are advised to use caution, particularly those with heart or lung disease. The service noted, “older adults and children should avoid prolonged exposure, strenuous activity or heavy exertion, as conditions dictate.”