You look outside and you can’t even see 1/4 mile through the haze. Is it safe to run?
That’s the question that has been posed numerous times recently because of smoke caused by wildfires to the north.
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has created an interactive resource that allows you to type in your address or any location and it will provide current conditions.
RAAN, or Real-time Air Advisory Network, allows you to enter a location and view the two pollutants since midnight of the current day. It also rates how healthy or unhealthy the levels are.
The two pollutants the site highlights are ozone, typically created when auto exhaust mixes with UV light from the sun, and PM 2.5.
Ozone is most prevalent during the heat of summer. It also tends to build as the day progresses and temperatures increase.
PM 2.5, short for particulate matter of 2.5 microns or smaller, are super fine particulates much finer than a human hair. Regular masks sold at Home Depot to wear while sending or medical surgical masks will not protect against these fine particulates. Instead, you need to buy NIOSH rated N95, N99 or N100.