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The original item was published from 10/2/2023 4:45:00 PM to 10/2/2023 4:51:20 PM.

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Posted on: October 2, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Wildfire Ready: Tips for staying safe and healthy when Wildfire Smoke affects Santa Rosa

photo of wildfire smoke in a forest

Drift smoke from wildfire events near and far from the City of Santa Rosa can be alarming and difficult to endure physically and emotionally. Seasonally dry conditions in our area increase the potential for wildfires near or in Santa Rosa. What exactly is wildfire smoke? Wildfire smoke is defined as a mix of gases and fine particles from burning trees, plants, buildings, and other materials during wildfire events. Wildfire smoke can last days after events in the immediate area or drift long distances, crossing counties, states, and sometimes even other countries. 

How do we prepare?

The best way to prevent wildfire smoke is to prevent wildfires from the start. Santa Rosa Fire Department is dedicated to making sure as many city residents know where to find information at and having educational material ready to help the community prepare. While we do what we can to prepare wildfires near our homes, we still want to take the following steps to reduce the risks from wildfire smoke and wildfire drift smoke. 

Check local air quality reports:

Bookmark the LINK for Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), the air quality district that covers the city of Santa Rosa, for current air quality data. The Air District maintains one of the most comprehensive air quality monitoring networks in the country, consisting of over 30 stations distributed among the nine Bay Area counties. Listen and watch local news outlets for warnings and health orders from the County of Sonoma. Follow Santa Rosa Fire Department and the City of Santa Rosa for social media channels where information on those health orders will be shared. 

Keep indoor air as clean as possible: 

Once an air quality advisory is given, stay indoors and close all sources of outdoor air including windows, doors, HVAC air intakes, etc. Wildfire smoke can be an irritant to eyes, nose, throat, and lungs and is hard on the respiratory system. If possible, set up a portable air cleaner in a designated room. 

Research and wear appropriate Masks/respirators: 

If you must go outdoors during a wildfire smoke event while evacuating or while there is drift smoke in your immediate area, we recommend you wear an N95 respirator. Children ages 2 years and older can wear respirators and masks, though parents should do research on which ones would be the best size fit for their children. Remember that dust masks, surgical masks, bandanas, and breathing through a wet cloth will not protect your child from smoke.

Further Resources: 

Wildfire Smoke Factsheet for Domestic Pets: English / Español

Wildfire Smoke Factsheet for Large Animals and Domestic Livestock: English / Español

Wildfire Smoke Guide from EPA AirNow Division: English / Español

BAAQMD Wildfire Air Quality Response Program: Click HERE

Guidance for special populations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): 

Chronic Conditions: English / Español

Pregnant Peoples: English / Español

Children: English / Español


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