With wildfires burning in the north and south of our state,
here is some helpful information about air quality, worker
safety, and supporting families in need.
You can find the Air Quality Index in your area by entering your
zip code in the EPA’s AirNow
online calculator, which is also available as an app for your
mobile device. Purpleair.com is also a useful
resource, offering hyper-local air quality monitoring in
Although Laura Carrasco and her husband were at home in Oxnard on
Monday, December 4, they didn’t smell the smoke because of the
60-mile-an-hour winds. Around 10:30 pm, they looked outside, saw
flames, and a few minutes later, firefighters went up the street
with bullhorns, telling people to evacuate.
It was the beginning of the Thomas fire, the largest recorded
fire in California history, which burned 273,400 acres in Ventura
and Santa Barbara counties, destroying about 1,000
After the North Bay fires destroyed more than 5,000 homes and
killed dozens of people, William Ortlinghaus, who teaches
physical education at Kenilworth Junior High and his wife Jen, a
teacher at Valley Vista Elementary, were happy to go back to work
after school had been cancelled for a week.
“It was the only normal thing we had left,” Jen said, “And my
fourth graders were curious to see if we were still alive and our
dogs were OK.”