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Wildfire Smoke Information

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EPA AirNow Fire & Smoke Map

The EPA Fire & Smoke Map displays the most current and comprehensive information on wildfires, smoke and air quality -- all in one map. You'll see air quality readings from around the region from both regulatory air monitoring stations and the most accurate readings from crowd-sourced, portable air quality sensors.

Click here to see a video that reviews all the useful features found on the Fire & Smoke Map.

Current Conditions 

Currently, Sacramento County is not experiencing impacts from wildfire smoke.  

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.

Actions to Take During Wildfire Smoke Events

If you are a school, business or public agency, follow the 5-Step Plan along with the Air Quality Action Charts below to help you make decisions that will help keep students, employees and residents as safe as possible during smoky days.


5 Steps to Take During a Wildfire Smoke Event


Quick Reference Contact Guide

Air Quality Action Chart

FOR BUSINESSES:  Air Quality Action Chart 

FOR PUBLIC AGENCIES:  Air Quality Action Chart 

FOR GENERAL PUBLIC: Air Quality Action Chart

Actions for Everyone 

When wildfire smoke impacts us, we can all help by not adding more pollution into our air (link).

    • Delay landscaping and leaf blowing
    • Reduce speeds when driving on dirt roads 
    • Prevent dust from demolition and construction projects
    • Avoid outdoor cooking or recreational burning

Visit Spare The to sign up for Air Alerts and find other tips and actions you can take to reduce air pollution. 

​Wildfire Smoke Air Pollution Emergency Plan

After the devastating wildfire season in 2018, Assembly Bill 661 (K. McCarty, 2019) was signed into state law. The legislation mandates the Sac Metro Air District develop a Wildfire Smoke Air Pollution Emergency Plan in full collaboration with the Sacramento County Health Officer and in consultation with other agencies - local emergency services offices, school districts, the Sacramento Planning agency and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The plan will serve as an information resource for Sacramento schools, local agencies, businesses and the public during wildfire smoke air pollution emergencies. The plan specifically addresses these main elements:

  1. Health protective recommendations and guidelines at different tiers of air quality 
  2. Clear designation of responsible agencies and their respective roles and actions 
  3. Recommendations and best practices for businesses and public agencies 
  4. Strategies for vulnerable populations

Current Status of the Emergency Plan

The plan will be finalized and brought before the Sac Metro Air District Board for adoption in Summer 2022. Tools available now for use include Air Quality Action Charts and other helpful outreach flyers (see above). Annual summaries of Emergency Plan efforts submitted to AB 661 author, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, are also available:

2020 Status Update

2021 Status Update

Survey of Local Businesses, Public Agencies and Non-Profit Organizations

As part of the Emergency Plan development process, the Sac Metro Air District performed a survey of business, public agency and non-profit sectors in Sacramento County to find out how wildfire smoke events impact them and how they respond to protect their employees from excess exposure to smoke. To see the results of this survey, click here.

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.

​Additional Real-Time Air Quality Data

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.

Purple Air Sensors

Purple Air low-cost sensors are individually owned. Data collected by citizen scientists is uploaded to the Purple Air map to show air quality readings. Click here to view the map

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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