Chico air quality index reaches unhealthy levels for sensitive groups


Chico reached an air quality index of 105 Friday. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

While record-breaking sized wildfires continue to burn across the state, side effects on air quality are already being felt as students return to Chico for fall semester.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) for Chico reached a level considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” Friday, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Sensitive groups include people with lung or heart disease, older adults and young children.

“The particles are small enough that they are not easily filtered by nasal passages,” said Marvin Pratt, Director of the Environmental Health and Safety department at Chico State.

In order to avoid breathing unhealthy air, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends these actions be taken:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible. Chico State buildings are a safe place on campus due to air filters on the buildings.
  • Close any windows and run the air conditioner on recirculation mode. Closing windows helps stop particles from entering the home.
  • Maintain a clean indoor air quality. This can be done by avoiding the use of candles, stoves, or smoking.
  • If you must to go outside, look into an N-95 mask. These masks protect from fine particles, and can be found at most hardware stores and supplied from medical providers.

“If you are finding yourself finding symptoms, be sure to check in with the Student Health Center,” Pratt advised any Chico State Students.

Brian Luong can be reached at [email protected] or @brianluongorion on Twitter.