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Hillsdale Blvd.
Smog overtakes the clouds in the sky over Hillsdale Blvd. Photo by Kat McDermott.
Negri Stadium
Smog hovers over Negri Stadium. Photo by Kat McDermott.
Low air quality caused by California fires

Students and staff at Foothill High School affected by smog.

Anyone who watches the news has at least heard about nearby fires, like the Butte fire, affecting our air quality; but does the air quality really affect anyone? Air quality is measured by the presence of contaminants in the air, but many students don’t take notice of the air quality or think it doesn’t affect them. It effects our community more than you think.

“The smog caps emissions from cars and keeps the ground cooler by blocking out the sun," stated Deborah Young, our AP Environmental Science teacher. "It’s a true inversion layer; it’s made out of ash and smoke, not emissions from cars. It’s like being in L.A. when it used to be really bad.”

This means that we’re not only breathing in ash from the fires but also emissions from cars and factories.

“It feels a lot heavier. It doesn’t hurt but it bothers my nose,” said Tori Peckham Smith, “I feel it a lot when I walk home. It becomes difficult to breathe.”

Smith is a student at Foothill High School who has asthma and walks home every day. The poor air quality makes her walk home even harder.

“My eyes get very watery and it’s very strenuous to finish homework,” said Mary Bivens, a junior at FHS.

How did the ash move in so quickly? It’s all because of our geography.

The Sacramento Valley is shaped like a bowl, so when wind picks up ash and air contaminants from the Butte fire and moves them up to the Sacramento Valley, it is hard for them to leave. Car emissions, ash, and other contaminants get stuck in our valley and take a long time to move out.

Bivens also manages the varsity football team and claims that some football practices have been cancelled because of the poor air quality. The air quality also affects other sports teams.

“We talked about air quality in cross-country; we avoided days that were too bad,” stated Kevin Clancy, the head cross country coach and ROP sports medicine teacher.

“We were lucky that it happened on non-school practice days,” he added.

Until the smog blows away, the best way avoid breathing the extra pollution is to stay indoors and avoid physical activity outside. Stay healthy, Mustangs!



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