Air Pollution from California Wildfires 60 Times Above Safe Limit

A satellite view of smoke from the Camp Fire, taken on November 12, 2018.

A satellite view of smoke from the Camp Fire, taken on November 12, 2018. NASA

Air pollution from California’s deadly wildfires was 60 times higher than world health standards for safe air quality, according to Bloomberg News. Particulates in the air in some parts of the state measured as high as 1,500 micrograms per cubic meter last week — far exceeding the World Health Organization’s threshold of 25 micrograms for particulate pollution.

Even with several of the blazes more contained, air quality officials said pollutant levels were still above safe levels Monday and will likely remain dangerously high for several more days.

“It is just insane,” Rebecca Buchholz, an expert on air pollution from fires at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, told Bloomberg. “It is quite amazing how high these fine-particulate levels are.”

Air pollution has affected communities located hundreds of miles downwind of the wildfires. Particulate levels in Sacramento reached 135.4 micrograms per cubic meter on Monday, according to the U.S. Forest Service. San Francisco had a reading of 55, with San Jose at 76.1 and Stockton at 152. Several schools and universities in California have canceled classes, and businesses have closed their doors until air pollution levels decrease.