Water tender crews monitor a backfire through the Mosquito fire in Foresthill, an unincorporated area of Placer County, California on September 13, 2022.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
As a large wildfire chewed through tens of hundreds of acres in California over the past week, smoke and ash billowed into nearby towns including Sparks — home to Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada.
Tesla is taking steps to shield employees from exposure to the smoke from the wildfire — referred to as the Mosquito Fire — as much as possible but the corporate stopped shy of furloughing employees.
In line with an internal memo shared with CNBC, Tesla informed employees at the power that the constructing’s heating, venting and cooling (HVAC) system was set to a “recirculation mode to limit the quantity of out of doors air pulled into the factory.”
Overall air quality across the Tesla facility was ranked “unhealthy” to “very unhealthy” on Thursday and Friday with around 57 micrograms of high-quality particulate matter per cubic meter of air, in accordance with the U.S. Air Quality Index.
When air quality is that poor, people of all ages are advised to noticeably limit outdoor activities, and wear a mask outside to filter smoke and other pollutants. Also they are advised to maintain windows closed to shut the pollution out of their homes and offices.
Nevada Gigafactory HVAC filters have been upgraded to a MERV 13 level or higher over the past yr to capture wildfire particulates. Those filters have been swapped out for brand spanking new ones on a more frequent basis this yr, Tesla told employees, and that ought to proceed amid the smoky conditions.
The region was plagued with wildfires and air pollution last yr as well. California’s Caldor Fire, for instance, burned greater than 220,000 acres in 2021, destroying homes, land and resulting in hazardous air quality in surrounding areas including in Nevada.
In line with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), “climate change, primarily brought on by the burning of fossil fuels, is increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires not only in California but in addition everywhere in the world.”
Staff stationed at or steadily going to outdoor areas were urged to select up N95 masks at an office within the Gigafactory, and kept apprised of air quality levels this week as well.
The Mosquito Fire was 20% contained as of late Friday in accordance with the CalFire website, with cooler weather forecast over the weekend that was expected to assist fire fighters of their effort to extinguish the flames.