Wildfires

Pawnee Fire Prompts Emergency Shipment to Northern California

N-95 respiratory masks shipped to Lake County Public Health Department for distribution to fire-impacted residents.

A resident of Carpinteria, California, picks up an N-95 mask during the Thomas Fire in December, 2017. Air quality is often compromised during wildfires, and Direct Relief shipped masks Tuesday to first responders in Lake County, where the Pawnee Fire is burning. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
A resident of Carpinteria, California, picks up an N-95 mask during the Thomas Fire in December, 2017. Air quality is often compromised during wildfires, and Direct Relief shipped masks Tuesday to first responders in Lake County, where the Pawnee Fire is burning. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

As the Pawnee Fire blazes in Lake County, California, Direct Relief on Tuesday shipped emergency supplies at the request of public health officials.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 11,500 acres had burned in Lake County, which is about two hours northwest of Sacramento. Several hundred structures are threatened by the blaze, and more than 1,500 residents have evacuated.

The shipment, bound for the Lake County Health Department, contains 1,500 N-95 masks.

Ash, smoke and particulates from wildfires can exacerbate breathing issues, particularly for those with asthma, weakened immune systems, children and older adults. N-95 masks help filter out those particulates and protect the wearer’s respiratory system.

In preparation for this year’s wildfire season, Direct Relief has a standing inventory of more than 165,000 masks ready for distribution.

Tuesday’s shipment is the first emergency delivery from Direct Relief’s new 155,000-square-foot facility in Santa Barbara.

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