Wildfires and severe smoke affect residents of the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District every year. Below you will find helpful information regarding wildfires, smoke and air quality and tips to reduce exposure to harmful wildfire smoke.
Wildfire Smoke and Your Health
Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of gases, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and other organic chemicals. Smoke also consists of fine particles, called particulate matter (PM), which can vary in size from visible specks to microscopic molecules. Particulate matter is the main pollutant of concern in wildfire smoke because of the short-term exposures usually experienced by the public. These small particles can bypass the body’s natural defenses and penetrate deep into the lungs.
Smoke can affect anyone, regardless of age, fitness level or health and those most sensitive to smoke include older adults, young children, women who are pregnant, and people with heart or lung disease and asthma. Exposure to such particles can lead to short or long term health effects.
Follow these tips to reduce exposure to harmful wildfire smoke:
- Limit outdoor activity. Exercise increases the amount of air lungs intake by as much as 10 to 20 times, allowing pollution to travel deeper into the lungs.
- Stay indoors. Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible.
- Run your air conditioner and check your filters. If no air conditioner is available an it is too warm stay indoors consider visiting a place with air conditioning like friends, family, the mall or local library. Do not run swamp coolers or whole house fans.
- Keep indoor air clean. Avoid smoking, burning candles, frying foods or vacuuming.
- Stay informed. Check local air quality reports at www.ysaqmd.org/ and follow the news for health warnings as well as what to do in an emergency situation.
- Check in with your health care provider. If you are having trouble breathing, seek medical assistance or call your primary care provider. People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan.
- Children, older adults, women who are pregnant, and people with respiratory or heart conditions should be particularly careful to avoid exposure.
For more information about specific activities during a wildfire incident, please click boxes below.
Emergency Generators and Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS)
Backup generators aren’t for everyone. Consider safety, noise and, cost along with your emergency power needs. Diesel exhaust contains toxic air contaminants and has been linked to lung cancer and other adverse health effects.
Permit and registration requirements for businesses and residents are different. Find out more below.
Air Quality and Smoke Maps
Below is a statewide fire map from CalFIRE. Zoom in and out using the + and – signs located at the bottom left corner. Click on a fire symbol in the map to learn more information about that specific fire.
If you would like to find additional websites with maps on air quality or weather, please click on any of the following buttons.
For the Purple Air Real-Time Sensor Map, please note that these sensors are a good way to track trends in air quality related to particulate matter, i.e. air quality is getting worse or better, and they provide a general idea of the PM readings in the area near the community sensor. However the sensors may register higher numbers than what the air quality actually is and readings from these sensors currently can’t be used for official pollution statistics/data.
Once you are on the website, type in your zip code or city and state in the search bar, located in the top left corner. Additionally when accessing this data, it is advisable to switch the option in the Map Data Layer dialogue box in the lower left hand corner from “None” to “AQandU”. This will apply a correction factor that will make the readings relate more closely to the official air quality data. You can also click on a specific colored circle for additional data.
Air Quality Alerts and Social Media
It’s important to stay updated on information regarding air quality in your community. The following are some simple and easy ways to stay abreast of air quality conditions and find new or important information.
- Sign up for EnviroFlash alerts. Receive local air quality alerts and forecasts via email or text messages at http://ysaqmd.enviroflash.org/. New users can choose which monitoring site is closest to them and what types of alerts of receive.
- Follow the Air District online. Did you know the District has a Facebook and Twitter page? Stay informed of local air quality issues by following us on Facebook or Twitter.
Additional Wildfire Smoke Pages
Below are additional links to wildfire smoke pages from other local air districts or regional partners.