FOLSOM (CBS13) – Poor air quality canceled plans for the weekend across the region as smoky skies sent more people inside.
Sutter Health Park in West Sacramento was left empty on Saturday as the game between the Sacramento Rivercats and the Reno Aces was postponed. In Folsom, a quintessentially bustling Sutter Street was more like a deserted downtown.
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“That smoke is something else,” said Anita Crawford Clark, who braved the smoke with an N95 for her friend’s book signing. “It’s probably the worst he’s been in a while.”
She said her daughter had sensitive lungs and felt the pressure of the smoke inside, even with multiple air purifiers. Levels in the greater Sacramento area on Saturday ranged from unhealthy on the air quality index to unsafe in others.
Conditions canceled Victoria Roberts’ plans with a visiting friend.
“We had other plans to do outdoor activities and kayaking – things like that,” Roberts said. “We saw people on the lake and things like that, but no, I’m not going to spend hours outside breathing it.”
At the top of Highway 50 in El Dorado Hills, the popular Selland restaurant is closed for the weekend with a sign citing the CAL OSHA code that does not allow employees to work outside with smoke from a fire forest. But in the same square, many people were still seen sitting outside. In places like the movies, business has picked up.
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“It’s busier than it used to be,” said Pamela Preston, who goes to the movies almost every weekend and can see the difference.
Preston went to the movies to avoid looking downright dangerous which was too much to deal with.
“I was nauseous, I went back inside and had a headache,” Preston said and clarified that at one point she needed to lie down.
On Friday, AQI’s numbers were off the charts and beyond measure. Experts like Dr Anthony Wexler say there is no limit to how high they can reach.
“When the concentrations are as high as they are now, they only increase,” said Dr Wexler. He says heat, wildfires and climate change are fueling the air people breathe right now. He advises people to use N95 masks outdoors and to avoid being exposed to smoke for too long, as it could have long-term effects on the lungs later in life.
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Every day the AQI increases, more and more people stay at home. This leaves places like baseball stadiums barren and downtown areas deserted.