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Wildfire Smoke Information

Visit EPA's AirNow website to see the interactive Fire and Smoke Map and access current information on wildfires, smoke and air quality. This website displays the most current and comprehensive information available, showing both regulatory air monitor and the most accurate PurpleAir monitor air quality info all on one map.

Current Conditions

Effects of Wildfire Smoke

Wildfires are now a regular occurrence in California and can happen at any time of the year. Smoke from these wildfires often impacts the Sacramento Region.  The amount of smoke and which areas are impacted is largely dependent on wind direction and can change throughout the day. Smoke is unhealthy to breathe. If you smell smoke, you are advised to remove yourself from the area or go indoors. For more information on the health effects of wildfire smoke, visit the CDC website.

From the Spare The Air website

Wildfire Smoke Information and PM 2.5 Monitor Map

The PM 2.5 Monitor Map is activated on when a wildfire smoke episode is anticipated or occurs. This map provides EPA's NowCast PM 2.5 levels at all regional monitors, including any temporary monitors placed and brought online by Sac Metro Air District, another air district or CARB.

Real-time Air Quality Readings

Real-time air quality readings are derived using EPA's NowCast algorithm, which uses longer averages during periods of stable air quality and shorter averages when air quality is changing rapidly, such as during a fire. NowCast allows current conditions maps to align more closely with what people are actually seeing or experiencing.

Free Air Quality Mobile App

Choose a link below to download the free Sacramento Region Air Quality app. The app displays EPA's NowCast for each monitoring site in the Sacramento Region. Push notifications for wildfire smoke alerts are also available through the app.

​Additional Real-Time Air Quality Data

There are several non-regulatory low cost sensor tools to access real-time air quality information during a wildfire smoke episode, PurpleAir is one of those tools. The following is a map showing the locations of all PurpleAir's and their associated real-time air quality information. Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browsers are recommended for viewing this content.

Air Quality & Meteorological Information System (AQMIS)

AQMIS is provided by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and provides raw hourly concentration readings from air monitors throughout the state. To use AQMIS Query Tool to check for wildfire smoke impacts, click on the Hourly Data tab and select PM 2.5 as the parameter. Change the date and time of day as needed. You can either select Sacramento County for a more narrow list of monitors or Sacramento Valley from the list of air basins for a broader look at the region. Hit the Retrieve Data button to get the data table. You can convert these concentrations (micrograms per cubic meter) to the Air Quality Index (AQI), though keep in mind that the AQI ranges are based on health impacts from prolonged exposure, not short-term exposure. Download conversion chart.

Social Media

Social media is a great way to stay informed during a wildfire smoke episode. Here are some resources to follow.

  • @AQMD on Twitter: Sac Metro Air District provides air quality information during smoke episodes on its Twitter feed.
  • Spare The Air Scooter on Facebook: You can find wildfire smoke updates for the Sacramento Region on the Spare The Air Facebook page.
  • @CAL_FIRE on Twitter/CALFIRE on Facebook: CAL FIRE provides frequent updates on wildfires all over California.
  • @NWSSacramento on Twitter: The National Weather Service's Sacramento office provides smoke and weather forecast updates during episodes.
  • Fire hashtags: Wildfires are given names by responding agencies. Searching the fire name with a hashtag on Twitter or Facebook will often provide good information from a range of sources. You can find fire names in the top section of this page or through CAL Fire or the news media.
    • Example: Search #RimFire for the Rim Fire or #KingFire for the King Fire
  • California Smoke Blog: The California Smoke Blog is maintained and updated by several public agencies. Air quality advisories and smoke forecasts are often posted there by the U.S. Forest Service and air districts.

​Satellite Images

These tools help to visualize smoke plumes from various fires.
  • GOES-East: This resource from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provides a loop of satellite imagery for the West Coast, updated every five minutes and using True Color during the day and multispectral infrared at night. An explanation of how to read the map is included at the link.
  • NASA Worldview: NASA provides a single daily satellite image along with fire indicators that shows smoke plumes in addition to cloud cover and fog. NASA offers additional information on its Fire & Smoke page.

Weather Information

During a wildfire smoke episode, the National Weather Service typically includes information on smoke in its robust daily forecast discussions. These forecasts incorporate wind direction and strength in addition to other atmospheric conditions that impact smoke transport.

Sac Metro Air District's daily air quality forecast also takes smoke modeling into consideration during episodes. This includes forecasting PM 2.5 levels during periods of concern in addition to factoring in wildfire smoke's impact on ground-level ozone formation.

Health Information

Wildfire smoke includes particulate matter (PM). PM can be directly emitted, as with fires, or it can form in the atmosphere from reactions of gases such as nitrogen oxides. PM from wildfire smoke can cause serious health impacts.

The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles (known as PM 2.5 or fine particulate matter) pose the greatest problems because they bypass the body’s natural defenses and can get deep into your lungs and potentially your bloodstream. Exposure to such particles can affect both your lungs and your heart.

Sac Metro Air District monitors PM 2.5 concentrations at several sites throughout Sacramento County.

Long-term exposure to particulate pollution can result in significant health problems including:

  • Increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing
  • Decreased lung function
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Development of chronic respiratory disease in children
  • Development of chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive lung disease
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nonfatal heart attacks
  • Premature death in people with heart or lung disease, including death from lung cancer

Short-term exposure to particulate pollution can:

  • Aggravate lung disease causing asthma attacks and acute bronchitis
  • Increase susceptibility to respiratory infections
  • Cause heart attacks and arrhythmias in people with heart disease

Even if you are healthy, you may experience temporary symptoms, such as:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath

CAL FIRE maintains the Statewide Incidents Map with details about fires burning in California.

example cal fire map Click here to visit Cal Fire

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