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Bad Air Quality Across The Region Cancels Events, Closes Some Businesses

FOLSOM (CBS13) - Bad air quality cancelled weekend plans across the region as smoky skies sent more people indoors.

Sutter Health Park in West Sacramento remained empty on Saturday as the game between the Sacramento Rivercats and the Reno Aces was postponed. In Folsom, a typically busy Sutter Street was more like a deserted downtown.

"This smoke is something else," said Anita Crawford Clark who braved the smoke with an N95 on for her friend's book signing. "It's probably the worst it's been in a while."

She said her daughter has sensitive lungs and was feeling the pressure of the smoke indoors -- even with several air purifiers. Levels across the greater Sacramento area on Saturday ranged from unhealthy on the air quality index to hazardous in others.

The conditions cancelled Victoria Roberts' plans with a visiting friend.

"We had other plans to do outdoor activities and kayaking -- things like that," Roberts said. "We saw people out on the lake and things like that, but no, not going to spend hours outside breathing it in."

Up Highway 50 in El Dorado Hills, popular restaurant Selland's closed for the weekend with a sign citing CAL OSHA code that doesn't allow employees to work outside with wildfire smoke. But in the same plaza, many people were still seen sitting outdoors. At places like the movies, business picked up.

"It's busier than it has been," said Pamela Preston, who goes to the movies nearly every weekend and can spot the difference.

Preston went to the movies to avoid the downright dangerous air that was too much to handle.

"I was nauseous, went back inside, and had a headache," Preston said and elaborated by saying that, at one point, she needed to lay down.

On Friday, AQI numbers were off the charts and beyond measure. Experts like Dr. Anthony Wexler say there's no limit to how high they can go.

"When the concentrations are sky-high like they are now, then they just keep going up," Dr. Wexler said. He says the heat, the wildfire and climate change fuel the air people are currently breathing. He advises people to use N95 masks when outside and avoid being exposed to the smoke for too long, as it could have long-term impacts on lungs later in life.

Each day the AQI climbs, more people are staying home. It's leaving places like ballparks barren and downtowns deserted.

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