The air quality index number in
Although the record-setting year for acres burned in wildfires continued to grow, some areas improved. The August Complex Fire, the No. 1 blaze in
However, the third and fourth largest fires in state history, the SCU Lightning Complex Fire and the LNU Complex Fire, were both over 97 percent contained as of
"We're starting to see the initial approach of a new air mass,"
That being said, Dr.
"We've had a series of issues that have kind of been the perfect storm for the air quality to be bad," Dailey said. "We've had a lot of woodsmoke and combined with a lot of very hot, dry days it's combined to make the situation we're in. It's kind of a like a top on the top of a pot of boiling water. It compresses and pushes the air lower and lower to grow. But on top of this, we haven't had much wind. Wind is good for helping the air quality, but at the same time if you're asking what starts fires, then wind is terrible."
Forecasters and air quality officials have been waiting for a new pattern to emerge for longer than they care to remember. The skies have been dirty for the past month; a Spare the Air alert in effect through Wednesday has been active since
It's not just California that's had it bad with air quality lately, as the smoke from the west coast of
"Amazingly, that wildfire smoke has traveled thousands of miles and finally has reached the East," Benz told
This week California Gov.
"We can agree to disagree on the politics," said Newsom, "but one thing is fundamental: 57 percent of the land in this state is federal and 3 percent is state forests."
With all the smoke, Dailey said that state hospitals have "definitely seen an increase in respiratory cases."
"It's been unprecedented," Dailey said. "I mean, we've had 28 or 29 days of spare the air alerts. We're getting more cases lately of asthma, chest tightness and emphysema. This is all unfortunately a recipient of the unhealthy air."
Dailey went on to say that just because you're wearing a mask outside, doesn't mean you're completely safe in the unhealthy weather.
"What we are seeing is this small particular matter that is so small and is ultra fine. It's smaller than 2.5 microns," Dailey said. "N-95 masks are supposed to block 95 percent of the regular matter, but this matter is so small and it gets through and then is absorbed in the lungs. So in the next few weeks we could see an increase in heart attacks and strokes related to the ultra fine particular matter."
Dailey said that the particles in the air affected the color of the sky people saw a week ago on
"We have so many particles in the air," Dailey said. "But most of them are the smaller wavelengths of light and those are of the blue or purple color. The longer wavelengths of light are red, so when they combine, just think of a rainbow and those blues and purples become an orange."
Dailey said in order to stay healthy right now, don't go outside, but if you do, wear an N-95 mask at this point.
"The smaller cloth, or bandanna masks won't work in this air quality right now," Dailey said. "If you're going to go outside, wear the N-95 mask if you can. A lot of your homes the windows and doors won't completely stay closed tight, so exercise right now, even indoors in this weather, isn't a good idea. Be smart and try and stay inside."
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