The level of air pollution in California exceeded world “safe” levels by about 60 times last week after a series of deadly wildfires.
Particulates in the air in some areas of the state reached levels as high as 1,500 micrograms per cubic meter, according to Bloomberg. The World Health Organization-set healthy standard for such particulates is 25.
Rebecca Buchholz, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, described the high levels as “just insane.”
“It is quite amazing how high these fine-particulate levels are,” Buchholz said to Bloomberg.
More than 70 people have died in the Camp Fire. The Northern California blaze is now the state’s deadliest wildfire and has destroyed vast swaths of land. There is also a wildfire doing severe damage in Southern California.
Buchholz warned that while the pollution levels have since lowered in many areas, it may linger long after the fires are extinguished, especially due to expected rain and the potential for smoldering, which keeps smoke in the air.
High levels of air particulates can lead to long-term respiratory issues, as well as irritation of lungs and eyes, according to Buchholz.
President Trump visited the damaged areas over the weekend, after initially blaming California’s forest management for the fires and threatening to withhold federal funding to the state.
The president signed a declaration to give funding to California but has continued to criticize state officials about forest management.