California Fire Air Pollution Maps and Photos

By accident, I was on Main Beach in Laguna Beach at Sunset on Nov. 10, and had taken an excessive number of red sunset photos resulting from smoke pollution from the Woolsey (Malibu) fire.  This album on my Flickr account is called:

Fire Sunset Laguna Beach

I have photographed some websites mapping air pollution, and put them on an album of my Flickr account:

California Fire Air Pollution

The circle sensor diagrams are from  They include the amount of the PM 2.5 micron particle air pollution.  The okay readings are indicated by green, and go from 0 to 50.  Bad air in Orange County gets into the yellow of 50-100.  Beyond that are stages of unhealthy.  The smoggiest areas in India and China can reach 400.  North of India is the high-pollution Urumqi region of industrial development in northwestern China, in Xinjiang.

The danger of PM 2.5 particles are that they are capable of going through the lungs and being absorbed into the blood stream.

At the end of the Pollution photo files are three plots of the fire caused air pollution during the past week.

The PurpleAir horizontal photo of the sensor at Morelos in the Bay Area has a weeklong average of 173, which is red or Unhealthy.  The current reading was 265, or purple, Very Unhealthy.  Over 200 is in that category.  The week’s lows were in 150-200, and the highs around 300.

The sensor at Santa Monica, SCUV_08, was currently at 153 in the red, Unhealthy.  The week’s low there was 150-200.  The highs were 300, Very Unhealthy.

The sensor at Lynwood, near downtown LA, SCSG-23 was currently at 155.  The week’s highs were between 100-150, orange, and Unhealthy for Some.

The Stanford-Cal Game was postponed on Saturday, Nov. 18, to Saturday Dec. 1.  At a measure of 150, the NCAA recommmends that activities be moved indoors or shortened.  At 200, they suggest that “serious consideration should be given to rescheduling the activity or moving it indoors”.  The readings in the Bay Area were over 250.

The Northern California PurpleAir maps show that air pollution reached 400 near the Camp fire, and in the mid 250s in the Bay Area.

The Los Angeles area got to 150-180 from the Woolsey fire going into Malibu.

The (Lawrence Berkeley Lab) charts the PM 2.5 for the 40 highest cities in the world.  On a normal day, they are all in India.  With pollution from the Camp fire, they included Oakland (180), Stockton (174), San Francisco (161), and Sacramento (156).

I have taken photos of time charts at Orange County sensors, which show a peak on Nov. 11 of over 100, due to the Woolsey fire smoke.  The Cypress Village and Balboa ones reached 150.

An LA Times map by mapbox shows the micrograms per cubic meter near the Chico-Paradise region, and also covering the Bay Area.

Also in the albums is the map of US Forests and Forest Management areas in California, which include 57% of California Forests.  The rest of the forests are owned privately and by  lumber companies. shows contour maps of the PM 2.5 pollution.  The purple are is very unhealthy, around 400.  There is also a contour map for the highly polluted areas of India and China.  The pollution is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day in these areas. also determine that 2017 was the second warmest year on record, with 2016 being the warmest.  2015 was the third warmest.  2010 was the fourth warmest, and 2014 the fifth warmest.

Compared to the 1951-1980 average, the land has warmed 2.3 degrees F.  The ocean has increased 0.94 degrees F.

China is now producing twice the greenhouse gases of the US.  As of 2014, China gets 70% of its electrical power from coal.  A million Chinese a year die early from air pollution.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in Air Quality, Climate Change, Fire Risks, Laguna Beach Art, Smog worldwide, Sunsets, World Smog. Bookmark the permalink.

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