Over the past few days, the smoke from the River Fire burning southeast of Salinas has evolved. First, it was a huge mushroom-shaped cloud ascending high into the sky. And now, that smoke has descended into the valleys and is blanketing much of the Monterey Bay region.
These conditions are here to stay for at least the next 10 plus days. That’s because, having analyzed the weather forecast, the terrain, and the resources they have, Cal Fire has set a tentative containment day of August 30.
So how do we prepare for days and days of bad air quality?
“Really rely on common sense. If it smells smoky outside and it's really hazy, it's not a good time to be outside exerting yourself,” said Richard Stedman, the air pollution control officer for the Monterey Bay Air Resources District.
They’re monitoring, as of Tuesday, significantly bad air quality in areas such as Carmel Valley and King City.
“We typically do not see air quality that degraded in the course of a year except for during wildfire incidents,” said Stedman.
Stedman is also asking the public to limit further air pollution by combining vehicle trips or restricting BBQs. He says turning on your air conditioner or purchasing a HEPA filter can help clean out contaminants.
He adds, if you have pre-existing conditions you may want to contact your doctor..
“And they may advise them to leave the area to go towards an area that has less smoke impact,” said Stdeman.
Adding, this is also a concern for those suffering from COVID-19.
Monterey Bay Air Resources District, which is one of KAZU’s many business supporters, anticipates air quality will get worse before it gets better.