The City of Sacramento is distributing “particulate respirator” masks in response to the heavy wildfire smoke from the Camp Fire.
The masks will be available free of charge at all City of Sacramento fire stations. (Station 16 currently is closed and will not be handing out masks.) City personnel also will be handing out masks to people who are experiencing homelessness.
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The City received nearly 7,000 “N95” masks from the Sacramento County Medical and Health Operational Area Coordinator, and will request more depending on demand. These masks are the same ones worn by firefighters, and they may help protect lungs from harmful particles in wildfire smoke, according to the California Department of Public Health.
“Public safety is a priority for the City of Sacramento,” said Daniel Bowers, Director of Emergency Management for the City. “With the air quality as bad as it is from the Camp Fire, we felt this was the right time to make the masks available to anyone who wants one.”
“Sacramento firefighters know how to use these masks, and we look forward to helping distribute them at our fire stations,” said Capt. Keith Wade, spokesman for the Sacramento Fire Department.
On Sunday morning, the Air Quality Index in Sacramento was registering “very unhealthy” levels, with a particulate matter count of more than 290. Mask distribution will end once the Air Quality Index drops below 150 for particulate matter.
The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, in conjunction with Sacramento County Public Health, has advised that residents take precautions and minimize outdoor activities if people see or smell smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County.
They are recommending that people stay indoors with the doors and windows closed as much as possible. Children, the elderly and people with respiratory and heart conditions should be particularly careful to avoid exposure.
The Camp Fire in Butte County has burned nearly 110,000 acres since it started Nov. 8. It has destroyed more than 6,500 homes and claimed 23 lives, making it one of the deadliest fires in California history. As of Nov. 11, it was approximately 25 percent contained.