By Macy Jenkins

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Smoke drifting from the Camp Fire is clouding up Sacramento skies. All it takes is one look outside to see just how hazy it is. Families around the Valley were forced to spend their holiday escaping the dangerous conditions.

“We have to stay inside, there’s no way we can’t!” said Noelle Ritter, who lives in Roseville.

If you want to keep an eye on the air quality level, you can visit the California Air Resource Board website.

The California Air Resources Board has a section on its website called “Breathe Well.” It has 5 levels of air quality: Green, yellow, orange, red and purple. Green means good and purple means very unhealthy. Any level above orange fails to meet federal clean air standards. On Monday afternoon, Sacramento was in the red zone.

“If you can see the smoke or smell the smoke, that’s bad for your lungs,” said Chris Vestal, spokesperson for Sacramento Metro Fire Department.

READ: THE LATEST: Camp Fire Grows To 117,000 Acres, 42 Confirmed Dead

That’s especially true for people with heart conditions or breathing problems. We asked the experts if there anything else you can do to stay healthy, but the best advice remains clear: avoid the bad air!

“If it’s not required that you’re out in this air conditions, then stay inside,” Vestal said.

If you’re at home, you need to shut the doors and windows and make sure your filters are clean before you turn on the AC. And if you’re in an older home without central air, the air will likely still have particles in it.

In the car, the experts advise that you try to keep the smoky air out and recirculate the air that’s already inside of the car.

Sacramento City Fire Department is giving out N95 masks for free but Sacramento County Public Health Department says using that kind of mask can be dangerous for people with heart conditions and make symptoms worse for people with breathing problems.

ALSO: Family Speaks After Harrowing Escape From Paradise Goes Viral

Elliott Geneste de Besme bought a P100 mask to filter out plastic and chemicals from drifting ash.

“I’m actually surprised I do not see more people wearing masks,” he said.

Geneste de Besme decided to buy his mask last year after the fires in Santa Rosa.

“I feel much more at ease and like I’m taking better care of myself and my lungs,” he said.

READ: 49ers Auctioning Game-Worn Jerseys To Support Camp Fire Victims

Ritter, a pregnant mom of two, finally let the kids outside on Monday but says her heart is with those in Paradise.

“It pales in comparison, I know,” Ritter said. “It’s almost silly to complain about keeping my kids inside for a couple of days in comparison to what they’re having to go through.”

Smoke is expected to settle by Thursday but until then, the California Air Resources Board recommends people hunker down and avoid being outside.


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