The good news is that the wildfires that swept through California in the last couple of weeks are being contained. The bad news is that the lingering devastation of these wildfires will last for several more months if not years. The most immediate danger in the Monterey Bay area is the air quality. Smoke coming from the Camp Fire in Butte County could be lingering throughout the area for several days to come. Officials are expected to rate the actual air quality to be moderate to unhealthy. That’s especially true for areas in valleys and basins.
The hope is that rain in the forecast can dissipate some of the smoke. But as anyone who lives in California knows you can’t count on the rain. Recent outdoor events like the Monterey Bay half marathon and various other sporting activities have been canceled because of the poor air quality.
When the air quality index has reached “moderate” levels it means that the air is acceptable but some pollutants might still be a health concern for small number of people especially those who have sensitive respiratory ailments. Older adults and children are at greater risk when there are particulates in the air. When a “unhealthy” level is found nearly everyone can experience adverse health effects with those in the sensitive groups being greater impacted.
The best course of action in bad air quality situations is to remain indoors with Windows shut. You also should minimize any physical activity and that includes dusting and vacuuming. If you do need to venture outside, then wearing a respirator mask is in a bad idea. Those are the kinds of things that you should have around your house just in case. During the height of the wildfires those masks were selling out everywhere across Monterey.
It is a good habit to get into to check air quality levels in the morning before you head out for your day.