I thought it might be a good idea to create a new category to discuss current air quality and smoke events. I have some thoughts so I’m assuming you might too! Open to your ideas as we discuss and collaborate within this new category.
For example, for the past few days, I’ve been watching PurpleAir sensors around the Yosemite area detect smoke from the Washburn Fire that started on July 7th, 2022. InciWeb regularly publishes updates from Yosemite Fire on the fire details, evacuations, and threats.
As of this morning, July 13th, the Washburn Fire is 3,772 acres but now only 17% contained. This active fire remains a threat to the more than 500 mature giant sequoias of the Mariposa Grove and have so far avoided serious damage from the Washburn Fire. Yosemite Fire reminds us that wildfires play a common role in natural forest management: “Most of these trees are over 2000 years old and have experienced fire many times throughout their lives.”
Interesting analysis, confirming wind direction is key for those outside the immediate area. Parts of the Midwest US often get degraded air from forest fires hundreds of miles to the north in Canada - the smoke is carried by the prevailing winds aloft.
Good idea, Kari. It would be great to have a place where people can talk about how the fires and smoke are impacting them. Being in California, we have been in the middle of several serious wildfires where our air quality has been greatly impacted and the PurpleAir sensors have been very helpful in seeing just how bad the smoke is in different areas. Here is an additional resource focused on California that has smoke outlook/forecast information, links to air quality districts, and other additional information that may be helpful.
California Smoke Information
This site is a voluntary effort by public agencies to coordinate and aggregate information for California communities affected by smoke.
Yes, a great point, Robert! Not only monitoring the Canadian fires but keeping tabs on the smoke plume transport. I have family in Minnesota that reported hazy skies last fire season. During my visits around that time, the high-level smoke was certainly noticeable. It will be interesting to monitor and report on again this year.
We were in a cabin in the Sierras near Mono Lake on July 5 when an app on my phone went off alerting me that the AQI on my Purple Air Sensor was in the red. Looked at the fire map and found that the Electra Fire had started. We were packed and home 6 hours later to find that the evacuation warning area was a mile from our property and we prepared to evacuate. It didn’t come to that, the winds and CalFire were favorable, but the Electra Fire was in the footprint of the Butte Fire which came up to our back door seven years ago.
Had it not been for the Purple Air sensor on my weather station we never would have known.
Wow, what a close call. Thanks for sharing your story.
Glad you are safe and had the alert enabled. Which app are you using for AQI alerts through your PurpleAir sensor? Airwyn or a different one? Please share!
I use two apps. It was Airwyn that alerted me with the audible tone. It is set (Android) to ask every time to use Location because I don’t want it roaming. I also use AQISpy for location which shows the nearest PrupleAir sensor along with a fire map and weather information.