Can the air quality go below the danger limit anytime soon?

California is facing a wrath of wildfires that are burning down everything in sight. Apart from life and man-made things, the wildfires are affecting the environment as well. Air quality in the surrounding areas is dreadful, to say the least, and according to a Bloomberg report, the particulate levels are 60 times more than the standard limit.

Putting the California Wildfires Into Perspective

Butte County’s Camp Fire has taken 77 lives so far, burned up 150,000 acres, and is 65-percent contained.

The rest is estimated to be contained by November 30th. The Woolsey fire alone has killed three people, burned up 96,949 acres, and is 91-percent contained. It is expected to be fully contained by the end of this week.

It’s Not The Internal Combustion Engines This Time

We generally tend to blame emissions emitted from vehicles and factories for the deteriorating quality of air. But this time, the reason is something different altogether.

Because of the wildfires, the particulate levels have hit 1,500 micrograms per cubic meter.

This is 60 times more than the World Health Organization’s standard threshold of 25 micrograms per cubic meter. Although it has come down according to the readings taken on Monday, the level is still way above the limit. In Sacramento, the particulate reading reached 135.4 micrograms per cubic meter, while San Jose, Stockton, and San Francisco reached 76.1, 152, and 55 micrograms per cubic meter respectively.

There Seems To Be No Relief Anytime Soon

Speaking to Bloomberg, National Center for Atmospheric Research project scientist, Rebecca Buchholz, said, "It is just insane. It is quite amazing how high these fine-particulate levels are."

The air is already affecting people. Many people have donned face masks as the airborne particulates from the fire have adverse affects on the eyes, lungs, and nose, making breathing difficult especially for the elderly and children.

Heavy rains have been forecasted for November 21, but this will bring more pain than relief in the form of mudslides. All we can do is hope for things to resort to normalcy at the earliest.

Source: Bloomberg

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