Air pollution in California is the worst in the country due to smoke from wildfires

Air pollution in California is the worst in the country due to smoke from wildfires

Two years ago, California’s record wildfire season caused one of the worst and most memorable air pollutions of modern times – the smoke, the dark skies, the eerie orange glow of the sun.

But just how bad it was, and what the toll the unhealthy air will have on people and communities, is a question that continues to be revealed.

California was home to 19 of the nation’s 20 worst counties for particulate pollution in 2020, a new report reveals. If sustained, those pollution levels could shave months or even years off residents’ lives, according to the ‘Air Quality Life. Index, published this month by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago.

Mariposa County in the Sierra foothills has recorded the highest concentration of particulates in the country, with an estimated average life expectancy of 1.7 years if the pollutants persist.

The dangerous amounts of particulates, essentially the tiny liquid and solid particles in stale air, underscore the health risk posed by smoke from wildfires. It’s a problem that resurfaced during the big fires last year and could very well come back this year, as many predict another tough fire season ahead.

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