Wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington have caused dangerous air conditions across the western United States as smoke billowed from parts of the devastating blazes for thousands of miles.
Air quality in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles is currently the worst in the world.
In the Bay Area, stores have been sold out of air purifiers as residents seek refuge from blazes that have been in operation since August. The fire spread over 3.2 million acres and destroyed about 4,000 structures in California, killing at least 22 people. Gov. Gavin Newsom said the quality of the wildfire is “equivalent to smoking 20 packs of cigarettes.”
Samah Tamimi, who works in a heating and HVAC service in San Francisco, told the NBC Bay Area that her company is receiving more than 130 calls every day to replace air conditioning filters or install an additional filtration system. The most popular items at the local Ace Hardware store are currently n95 masks and home air purifiers.
In another sign of uncertain air quality in the Bay Area, the NFL said in a statement Sunday that it monitored conditions to determine if it was safe for the San Francisco 49ers game to be held at their home stadium .
As of Sunday morning, at least 10 people have died in a fire in Oregon, where the smoke has poisoned air quality. In Portland, volunteers are distributing masks to needy people, especially since the CDC says that wildfire smoke can irritate your lungs and put you at greater risk of infection, including coronoviruses.
In Washington state, officials asked residents to stay indoors, close windows and avoid strenuous exercise to avoid dangerous air quality. Burned land in Washington over the past one week has already led to the state’s second-worst fire season since 2015, said Gov. Jay Inslee, who is calling the fire a “blaze of fire.”
In Nevada, Frank Setterfield Jr., a 30-year-old IT systems analyst and longtime Las Vegas resident, said the smoke from other states is so bad that it triggered his asthma.
“I actually had to use my inhaler for the first time in months,” he said.
Allison Park has contributed.