News Headlines Article

Wildfire smoke is wreaking havoc on air quality in the Western U.S.
The Washington Post

The destructive wildfires that continue to burn thousands of acres across California have created an air pollution nightmare for millions of residents on the West Coast. Smoke pouring from 20 active wildfires has prompted officials to issue air-quality alerts in several states.

As news broke Monday night that the Mendocino Complex fire has officially become the largest wildfire in California  history, residents in nearby Sacramento County were warned to stay indoors if possible through Friday.

The wildfires are emitting vast amounts of smoke full of a toxic mixture of gases and fine particles that come from burning wood and plant material. When inhaled, the microscopic particles can quickly move to the lungs and bloodstream, increasing the risk of developing asthma and other respiratory problems.

In addition to the dangerous particulate matter, the toxic combination of gases in smoke clouds provide a perfect breeding ground for the formation of surface-based ozone, which can result in negative health effects in its own right.