By Griffin Cipriani
As a harsh heat wave recently struck the Bay Area, wildfires erupted causing a “Spare the Air Quality” alert on August 26. Local residents got a call from Spare the Air Quality, advising them to cut down on carbon and smoke emissions.
Three days before, temperatures skyrocketed from about 80 to 105 degrees over the course of one day . This was a shock for many people as this was the beginning of fall.
19 fires exploded throughout California during the heatwave, bringing a wave of smoke and ash into the sky. Not only did it damper the mood, but it was a serious health hazard for people with lung disease or who participate in vigorous activities, such as sports.
“The air quality in California right now makes me sad because we are so hazed in by the smoke,” said sophomore Avery Camp. “Deep inside it makes me feel depressed.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), people with lung diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema, can be particularly sensitive to ozone. The ozone is our atmosphere and the gasses that we breath in.
According to the EPA’s Air Quality Index, people “will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Ozone can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital admissions.”
If you start to feel ill, it is very important not to panic. Novato Fire Chief Mark Heine explained “If you feel that you are experiencing any medical emergencies you should call 911 immediately, and our Paramedics will respond immediately to examine and treat you.”
If your house or apartment does not have air conditioning, don’t sweat it. Local public buildings will have air conditioning and water include libraries, movie theaters, shopping malls, and places like bowling alleys or cafes.
“If it is too hot to remain inside a home with no air conditioning, then I recommend you go to a public facility that does have air conditioning such as a movie theater, library, or local shopping mall,” added Heine.
Friday September 1, was a minimum day due to safety concerns for heat stroke and dehydration. According to state officials, this will most likely be the last major heat wave that would bring temperatures as high as 105 for the year. It is imperative for those in the affected areas to be smart and stay safe.