WILDFIRE AIR QUALITY ADVISORY
Monterey, California – August 20, 2021
Smoke from wildfires currently burning in northern California and along the Sierra Nevada Mountains has shifted south causing noticeable haze over most of the state. Although the smoke is predominately in an upper level of the atmosphere, certain meteorological conditions or topographic features can cause smoke to mix into lower levels affecting our breathing space. If this occurs, air quality may be degraded to Air Quality Index (AQI) levels of MODERATE or even UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITVE GROUPS in some areas of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. Conditions are subject to change depending on wind speed and direction, fire activity and other meteorological factors. As a result, air quality will be variable and unpredictable. The Monterey Bay Air Resources District (MBARD) will continue to follow the situation and issue air quality advisories when appropriate.
MBARD monitors air quality throughout our three-county region. Wildfire smoke monitoring data can be found at https://www.mbard.org/wildfire-smoke-information-and-resources. The current air quality forecast and regulatory monitoring data can be found at http://air.mbard.org/.
If you are being impacted by smoke, consider these guidelines:
· If the concentration of smoke reaches UNHEALTHY levels of the AQI, residents should limit their activity by staying indoors with the doors and windows closed to avoid breathing smoke. You may want to check with your health care provider to make sure it’s not necessary for you to leave the area.
· Use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it’s probably not a good time to go for a run. And it’s probably not a good time for your children to play outdoors.
· Help lower inside particle levels inside your home. When smoke levels are high, avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves – even candles. Don’t vacuum as that stirs up particles already inside your home. And don’t smoke. That puts even more pollution in your lungs, and in the lungs of people around you.
· We are asking residents to avoid adding more pollution to the air by limiting activities such as wood burning, driving, lawn mowing, and leaf blowing.
Health Effects of Smoke:
Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. These fine particles are especially harmful to the very young, very old, and to people with heart and lung disease. Further information about the health effects of wildfire smoke can be found on the EPA website: www.airnow.gov.
Richard A. Stedman, Air Pollution Control Officer