Residents near wildfire in California battle hazardous air

Residents near wildfire in California battle hazardous air

BrittanyNY /

The smoke coming out of the wildfire on the West Coast is reaching cities several miles away. The residents near the fires are suffering against the worst air for weeks now. Danica Gragg said, “Waking up to orange light pouring in your room is such an eerie feeling. We have never seen anything like it.”

The appearance of Earth has become like Mars due to the wildfires scorching millions of acres. The blue sky has been transformed into rust. Gragg added that they had not seen the sun for a couple of weeks. The fires are unpredictable for her family living east of San Francisco. “There were three different fires at the time when this started: one above us, one below us, one to the right,” she said.

Her family is battling against the aftermath of the wild flames. The flames spared their lives, however, they are battling against the hazardous air. The father of Gragg is a Vietnam veteran suffering from a lung disease, COPD. He went out to throw the trash one evening when he found himself unable to breathe. He was transported to the hospital via an ambulance. He remained in the hospital for six days.

Gragg said, “The ambulance came and of course with COVID, I think that was the first time I really understood what people were going through when you have to see a loved one taken away in an ambulance.” Her family downloaded several apps to check air quality. On the West Coast, the cities were suffering from the worst air in the world.

San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland are among the top five cities with the worst air in the world. Geoff Cornish, a meteorologist working with AccuWeather, said, “I have never personally seen so much smoke across the west as I did last week.” The smoke is dangerous for people who are suffering from respiratory illnesses. It is moving across the US and the Pacific Ocean from the west. The small particulate matter in the wildfire smoke is making it more toxic.

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