California Wildfires: When Inaccurate Air Quality Information is Worse than No Information

In a raging start to California’s fire season, BreezoMeter has emerged as the only provider to show the live, rapid impact of toxic wildfire smoke on air quality – highlighting the success of its unique approach.

The Importance of Accuracy in Reporting Air Quality Through Wildfires

As Californians struggle to find clean air, BreezoMeter, a local innovative and multidisciplinary group of scientists and engineers prove their dedication to providing the world’s most accurate and actionable air quality information in the face of a highly unpredictable wildfire season.

Live Air Quality Reporting in a Wildfire Can be Challenging

Live air quality reporting through a wildfire can be very challenging and being in the wrong can yield dire health consequences for those most at risk from smoke exposure. Physical air quality sensors can easily become damaged, causing them to fail to report accurately or not to report at all (also in the event of blackout).

Further, the information provided by traditional government monitoring stations is often problematic because they are frequently situated far apart from each other, may not track particulate matter  (the main pollutant associated with smoke) and tend to report with a delay of a number of hours, which can be dangerously misleading during times of erratic air pollution changes. When air quality information gets delivered as an average over time, real time exposure to rapidly moving smoke frequently goes unreported.

BreezoMeter Provides Live Impact of Smoke Travel & Exposure

During this time, BreezoMeter has frequently found itself to be the only provider showing the live impact on air quality & smoke travel. There have been multiple times over the last two weeks where competitors continued to report healthy levels of air quality while BreezoMeter’s smoke reporting highlighted the true poor air quality picture in real-time.

For example, on August 19th, many providers failed to capture the poor air quality and fire plumes swiftly making their way across Napa County and surrounding areas as a result of the Hennessy fire, one of the largest of the LNU Lightning Complex of fires.

BreezoMeter again found themselves to be the only provider to report air quality changes on August 25th, in and around San Jose and Henry W. Coe State Park as the SCU Lightning Complex fire quickly spread.

The Unique Technology That Affords the Accuracy 

BreezoMeter’s multi-data and multi-model approach means they are well-positioned to provide accurate information even when sensor information becomes unavailable or smoke  reduces visibility for satellite imagery. Their unique approach factors information from numerous data sources such as real-time traffic satellites, active fires and meteorological input – which allows them to provide the most comprehensive real-time air quality information available. BreezoMeter is also the only provider to offer a published accuracy-validation process for the air quality information they provide.

This live footage highlights how BreezoMeter’s model captured the rapidly-spreading smoke cross state lines between 20th-22nd August 2020:


” This highly unpredictable fire season has come at a time where public health has never been more important. We are proud of our ability to provide live and comprehensive information in response to fast-changing and life-threatening  environmental events. I am extremely proud of our team and credit our accuracy-validation process and thorough methods for our ability to reliably monitor sudden and dramatic changes in air quality ” –  Ran Korber, CEO at BreezoMeter

So far this wildfire season, California has faced its second- and third largest wildfire in state history. The damage and toxic smoke exposure has extended far beyond state lines, and the peak of the season is still on the horizon.

More than ever, businesses have a responsibility to ensure any air quality information they use is reliable. After all, unreliable information during these times puts vulnerable people at risk from toxic wildfire smoke – these groups can all suffer asthma attacks, worsening respiratory disease symptoms & more.

To learn more about the reasons for differences between air quality providers during wildfire season, see here.  For more information about BreezoMeter’s smoke reporting, accuracy validation process and insights, contact the team.

See the original coverage here.

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Ran Korber
Ran Korber

CEO & Co-founder at @BreezoMeter. My burning ambition is to improve the health and quality of life for billions of people across the globe by providing accurate and actionable air quality data. As co-founder and CEO at BreezoMeter, I'm proud to be able to work towards bringing my dream to fruition each day.