Forest fires in California, Oregon and Washington have created dangerous air conditions throughout the Western state as the smoke from the devastating flames stretches for thousands of miles.
Air quality in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles is currently one of the worst in the world.
In the Gulf area, shops have sold out air purifiers as residents seek refuge from the August fires. The fires charred more than 3.2 million acres and destroyed about 4,000 structures in California, killing at least 22 people. Gov. Gavin Newsum said air quality in forest fire zones “is equivalent to smoking 20 packs of cigarettes.”
Sameh Tamimi, who works in a heating and heating system in San Francisco, told NBC Bay Area that his company receives more than 130 calls each day to replace air filters or install an added filtration system. Currently, the most popular items in local Ace Hardware stores are n95 masks and home air purifiers.
In another sign of the uncertain air quality in the Gulf region, the NFL said in a statement on Sunday that it was monitoring the conditions to determine whether it was safe for the San Francisco 49ers to play at their home stadium.
As of Sunday morning, at least 10 people had died in fires in Oregon, where smoke had turned air quality into toxic. In Portland, volunteers are distributing masks to those in need, especially since the CDC says smoke from fires can irritate your lungs and make you more susceptible to infections, including coronavirus.
In Washington, officials told residents to stay indoors, close windows and avoid strenuous outdoor exercise to avoid dangerous air quality. The land burned in Washington last week alone is now the second worst fire season since 2015, said Governor Jay Insley, who calls the fires “climate fires.”
In Nevada, Frank Sutherfield Jr., a 30-year-old IT analyst and longtime Las Vegas resident, said the smoke from other states was so bad it triggered his asthma.
“I actually had to use my inhaler for the first time in months,” he said.
Alison Park contributed.