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More California Fires, More Bad Air Quality

A new set of California wildfires, this time hitting southern California, poses a new threat of bad air pollution for local residents.

Previously covered: The October Wildfires in California: Small particulate matter (PM10) is abundant as a result of the smoke.

Even if you are not in danger of flames, the smoke can cause detrimental health consequences. The concentration of particulate matter, specifically PM10, in the air is extremely high. Additionally, the PM10 in the air resulting from fires is not just the regular dust particles that we are more used to, caused from dust, sand and pollen, rather includes toxins from burnt materials, such as plastics, furniture, paint, etc.

Read more: How to keep yourself safe when there are fires.

Check out the images below of the fires from December 5th, from NASA's high-flying ER-2 aircraft. You can see the smoke plumes emanating from the fires, heading out over the Pacific Ocean. It is important to note, however, that winds change direction, so a westward wind during the day can become a northwest wind at night, bringing back some of the toxic air pollutants to more populated regions, like to Santa Barbara, in the current event of the Ventura fires. Plumes of smoke can change shapes, from narrower to wider, all depending on the wind speed and direction, and topography of the underlying terrain. With this in mind, it is extremely important to track the air quality in regions near the fires with BreezoMeter's live california air quality map, to get actionable, location-based air quality data.

Smoke plumes from CA fires Dec 5 NASA
 
Smoke plumes from CA fires Dec 5 NASA Pacific Ocean

This image shows the fires from a NASA’s Terra satellite.

Smoke plumes from CA fires Dec 5 NASA Pacific Ocean satellite

In general, satellite imagery is very useful for identifying fires, especially when they are in forested or non-populated areas.

Our real-time air pollution heatmap (left) accurately matches the satellite image coming from NASA of the California regions affected by wildfires.

BreezoMeter air pollution heat map (left) next to NASA images of California fires 2017_12_07

Photo credit (right): https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=91387

Did you know that the California fires can affect the air quality in other countries too? Learn how air pollution travels between countries.

Are you interested in integrating air quality data into your product?

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