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A man in Berkeley wears an N95 mask during the Butte County fire.

Smoke Response

Wildfire season in California is becoming longer and more destructive due in part to climate change. The fine particulate matter found in wildfire smoke can irritate the respiratory system. The air quality issues caused by wildfire smoke poses a threat to public health, particularly for people with pre-existing respiratory conditions, children, older adults, and people experiencing homelessness.

Wildfire Smoke Communications

The Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services, Health Care Services Agency and Public Health Department, Fire Department, and Office of Sustainability collaborated with internal and external partners to create a communications protocol for responding to wildfire smoke and other air quality conditions. The County was awarded a grant from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network for this project.

Under the project, County partners conducted community engagement, updated our guide to Climate Change Adaptation Workshops, created a communication protocol, and developed a new subscription for Community Partners within our existing AC Alert system. For jurisdictions that wish to develop their own wildfire smoke protocol, these documents may help:

Wildfire and Respiratory Health Flyer

Alameda County's Public Health Department developed a flyer with recommendations for protecting your health during wildfire season. The flyer has been translated into five additional languages and can be found on Public Health's Wildfire Smoke Resources page.