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Destructive wildfires set records in Northern California

Northern California wildfires and their effect on air quality.

By Erica Vranak, TSI Product Marketing Manager

Last week, lightning sparked hundreds of wildfires across Northern California following a heat wave and record-breaking temperatures, burning homes and prompting thousands of people to evacuate. More than 1 million acres have burned since August 15 with 100 fires occurring on Friday from the lightning and gusty winds.

Smoke from the wildfires choked the Bay Area on Sunday, causing the air quality index (AQI) to raise to hazardous levels, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Even though San Rafael in Marin County was miles from the nearest wildfire, a local BlueSky™ Air Quality Monitor there registered high AQI levels when the wind blew in that direction. The AQI increased due to the elevated levels of particulate matter (PM2.5) in the smoke drifting across the counties.

BlueSky air quality data through August 23 in the Bay Area of CaliforniaAQI readings over 100 are considered “unhealthy” for sensitive groups, such as children or those with respiratory conditions like asthma. High AQI warnings can cause interruptions to school reopenings and threaten businesses already struggling from coronavirus-related closures.

As of Tuesday, the largest fire—the LNU Complex Fire just north of Napa—burned 352,913 acres and was 27 percent contained. The ALERTWildfire Pena Adobe camera shows thick smoke on the horizon.

CAL FIRE screen from CA.govALERTWildfire screen

Additional Resources

Follow @CalFireCZU on Twitter for up-to-date wildfire information.

Visit to learn more about getting hyperlocal air quality data from BlueSky™ Air Quality Monitors

Posted on Aug 25 2020 10:29
Filed under air quality, wildfires
Current rating: 5 (3 ratings)


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