The City of Sacramento has received 200,000 “N95” masks from the California Department of Public Health and will continue to offer masks to people who request them.

Since Sunday, the City has been handing out N95 particulate respirator masks in response to heavy wildfire smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County. The masks have been available free of charge at City of Sacramento fire stations. City personnel also have been offering masks to people who are experiencing homelessness. To date, 67,000 masks have been handed out to people requesting them.

“These masks must be worn and used properly. If people have any questions about if they should wear one, they should seek the advice of a medical provider.”

The City’s mask supply had been running low as of Thursday, and City personnel was prepared to phase out the program. The City had submitted a request for more masks to the California Department of Public Health and was waiting for response. Early Friday morning, the City received 200,000 masks from the state. Those masks have been delivered to all City of Sacramento fire stations.

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Fire personnel will continue distributing masks to those who request them. They also will offer instruction on how to properly wear the masks. Preferred hours of distribution at the fire stations is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (If you knock on a door to a fire station and do not receive a response, please note they may be responding to an emergency call for service and will return when they are able.)

A Sacramento Firefighter holds a sample “N95” mask

“With the air quality in Sacramento at such unhealthy levels from the Camp Fire, the City is pleased to be able to continue offering N95 masks to people who want them,” said Daniel Bowers, Director of Emergency Management for the City. “These masks must be worn and used properly. If people have any questions about if they should wear one, they should seek the advice of a medical provider.”

Both the City and County of Sacramento have recommended that the best method for protecting one’s health during the unhealthy air quality is to remain indoors and limit outdoor activity.

N95 masks are the same ones worn by firefighters, and they can help protect lungs from harmful particles in wildfire smoke, according to the California Department of Public Health. In addition to Sacramento, cities such as Roseville, Chico, Daly City and South San Francisco have launched mask-distribution programs this week, as have Sutter and Yuba counties.

The Camp Fire in Butte County has burned 142,000 acres since it started Nov. 8. It has destroyed more than 9,800 homes and claimed 63 lives, making it the deadliest fire in California history. As of Nov. 16, it was approximately 45 percent contained.

Air quality in Sacramento related to fine particulate matter reached “hazardous” levels in various neighborhoods Thursday, according to the Spare the Air. The National Weather Service has said it expects increased winds on Saturday night may help with air quality in Sacramento.