The death toll from wildfires ravaging across Northern California has reached 23, and hundreds are reported missing. According to CNN, the director of Cal Fire, Ken Pimlott, expects the number of homes and businesses that have been destroyed to rise significantly from 3,500. 8,000 firefighters battling 22 small and large fires are challenged by low humidity and windy conditions in seven counties including Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino. The flames have and continue to consume everything that isn't steel, concrete or brick. Hundreds of people are being treated at hospitals for fire-related injuries including burns, smoke inhalation, eye irritation, and shortness of breath. Windy conditions are spreading clouds of smoke and ash around the Bay Area. Hazy skies from wildfires are causing poor air quality and health concerns. People living as far as San Mateo County and San Jose can smell the smoke in their neighborhoods. Air quality in San Francisco Bay Area is reported to be the worst it has been in the last 10 years. To reduce your exposure to smoke and ash, stay indoors as much as possible, and don’t go outside without wearing a respirator with an appropriate filter protection. We recommend Moldex 2300 N95 Particulate Respirator, 3M General Use N95 Respirator, and Moldex 2315 N99 Premium Respirator. Check the Air Quality Index (AQI) by typing your zip code into Local Air Quality Conditions text box to see if you have to limit your time outdoors in your area because of the hazardous levels of air pollution. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has assigned a specific color to each AQI category to make it easier for people to understand whether air pollution is reaching unhealthy levels in their community. The table below explains the color coding. Here are a few masks that are recommended for respiratory protection against smoke:
- The Moldex 2300 N95 Particulate Respirator is an inexpensive disposable mask with a unique Dura-mesh outer shell and an exhalation valve which facilitates the exchange of fresh air with each breath and prevents the buildup of moisture and heat, making it much more comfortable for wearing for the long periods of time.
- The 3M General Use N95 Respirator with Cool Flow Exhalation Valve offers easy exhalation for cool, dry comfort. An adjustable M nose-clip provides a custom fit and a secure seal.
- The Moldex 2315 N99 Premium Respirator is a disposable particulate respirator with the unique plastic mesh outer shell that holds its shape without metal nose clips. Added flame retardants help reduce shell flammability.