Island Suffers Week of Poor Air Quality

Courtesy    The Environmental Protection Agency provides air quality maps updated in real time for every zip code in the United States on its website, Late last week officials were saying the air quality in the Bay Area was the worst in the world. Maps of the Bay Area returned from the site Monday showed nearly all of the Bay Area under red, unhealthy conditions. As of noon Tuesday, conditions had improved.

The Camp Fire in Butte County started Thursday, Nov. 8, and impacts were felt in Alameda almost immediately. Air quality quickly reached unsafe for sensitive groups. Smoke from The Camp Fire, the most destructive and deadliest fire in California history, continued to worsen Bay Area air quality to hazardous levels. Residents were advised to stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed and close fireplace dampers. When outside, residents were encouraged to avoid exertion and wear properly fitted N95 respirator masks.

Through a generous donation from Euge Lee of Western Gravel & Roofing Supply, the city was able to provide masks to 4,760 residents at seven locations across the Island. The city ran out of this supply in a matter of hours. 

The Alameda Main Library offered extended hours over the weekend for people to breathe cleaner air via its HEPA air filters. The city prioritized residents who are homeless and residents who are at higher risk due to extended exposure or age. Daytime drop-in centers for unsheltered people were available all last weekend. 

Alameda Fire Department’s (AFD) Engine No. 501 is assigned to body recovery in Butte County. AFD’s OES Engine 296 is providing structure protection. Alameda’s Water Tender No. 1 is providing spot fire water supply to a strike team in Ventura County. All crews are very active but doing well.

Full containment of the Camp Fire is not expected until the end of the month. It has burned at least 142,000 acres. A total of 5,596 fire personnel have been deployed. There are now more than 70 confirmed deaths, more than a thousand reported missing and nearly 10,000 residences destroyed. 

Anyone willing to help is encouraged to donate to the Red Cross to help fire victims. Text CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation or donate online at To continue to monitor the air quality in real time, visit

“We see time and again the compassionate and committed response our Island makes when faced with a disaster,” stated the City of Alameda in a press release. “Today we are very thankful to everyone who is helping make our Island, and our state, safer.”


Dennis Evanosky    Jeff Cambra receives a free N95 mask from Jackie Krause at the Mastick Senior Center. The city had a limited supply of masks to give out thanks to Euge Lee’s donation.
Eric J. Kos    The Oakland Hills would normally be visible just above the buildings in the background of this photo taken from Alameda’s north shore. Smoke on Nov. 9 had completely obscured them.