YUBA CITY (CBS13) — Smoke from multiple wildfires across Northern California is blanketing the sky in an apocalyptic glow.
“I’ve noticed the sun is no longer the color the sun should be. It’s red with no visibility,” said Yuba City resident, Rick Heryford.
Regardless of where you live, you have probably seen the hazy skies and ash in the air. The haze is making it hard to see a mile ahead in some areas, including Yuba City.
“It’s been really bad. Yesterday, it was raining ash and when we woke up this morning it looked like someone set off mini campfires all over the place,” said Alexandria Conklin.
The air quality in the city is one of the worst in the region, but it is not stopping people from dining outside.
“It’s just the smell. Once you get past the smell it’s not as bad,” said Rita Elsalaymeh.
The city’s air quality Thursday ranked as “Hazardous” with an air quality index (AQI) reading of more than 350. Anything over 100 is when Sutter Health Dr. Vanessa Walker said causes a concern.
“These particles wiggle themselves down and deposit themselves into the actual cells of the lungs and they just cause inflammation,” she said.
The air quality ranges from unhealthy in Folsom where you can no longer see the Sacramento skyline, to “Very Unhealthy” and “Hazardous” for anyone in places like Roseville, Auburn and Lincoln.
“It’s pretty nasty, not good for you. So we try to stay inside and not exercise,” said Pete Fleming in Folsom.
Walker said in some areas we are seeing dangerous levels even for people who are normally healthy.
“It would be the equivalent of sticking your head over a campfire and just breathing in all that material for a long period of time,” said Dr. Walker.
Those at greater risk include young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with conditions like COPH, heart issues, and asthma. Dr. Walker cautions everyone should stay inside, avoid outdoor exercise and keep windows closed.
“Hunker down, stay indoors and if you’re healthy you still don’t want to go outside. It doesn’t mean you are immune to the smoke. Anybody can have what is called a bronchial spasm where the airways tighten up because of these very small particles in their lungs,” she explained.
The type of smoke you are breathing can also cause greater issues, according to Dr. Walker.
“It’s plastic material, it’s all kinds of stuff that is releasing formaldehyde into the area releasing carbon monoxide levels. It’s not just simply smoke from burning wood. Its smoke from burning chemicals,” she said.
Common cloth masks currently being used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not effective in helping to protect you from the air particles because they are too small to filter through a cloth mask, according to Dr. Walker.