An N95 particulate respirator mask

City ends its mask-distribution program

Due to improving air quality and decreased public demand, the City of Sacramento has ended its mask-distribution program.

Since Nov. 11, the City has passed out more than 150,000 “N95” particulate respirator masks in response to heavy wildfire smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County. The masks were available free of charge to anyone who requested one at City of Sacramento fire stations. City personnel also offered masks to people experiencing homelessness.

“These masks proved to be an invaluable resource to many members of our community,” said Daniel Bowers, Director of Emergency Management for the City. “A sincere thank you goes to the California Office of Emergency Services and the California Department of Public Health for providing the masks and offering immediate and decisive support.

“A big thank you also goes to City of Sacramento firefighters who distributed masks to the public and offered instruction on how to properly wear them,” Bowers said. “Their work was integral to making this program a success. Sacramento Fire Reserves also deserve recognition for volunteering their time to ensure all fire stations were stocked with masks.”

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.

The Camp Fire in Butte County has burned 150,000 acres since it started Nov. 8. It has destroyed more than 13,000 homes and claimed 81 lives, making it the deadliest fire in California history. As of Nov. 21, it was approximately 80 percent contained.

Air quality in the Sacramento region related to fine particulate matter reached “hazardous” levels in some locations last week, according to the website Spare the Air. Since then, air quality has improved, with current levels categorized as “moderate” and “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

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