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Caldor Fire Evacuees Having To Deal With Unhealthy Smoke

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) - The smoke is dealing another blow to evacuees forced out of their homes. Some are camping outside in the hazardous air.

New measures are in place at a Placerville evacuation shelter to protect evacuees from the smoke. Evacuees tell CBS13 the smoke is the worst in the morning and night.

Kevin Paxton contemplated moving inside of a Grass Valley Church evacuation site but is choosing to sleep in a tent with his family and bird.

"I've thought about it but I have my dogs out here and other animals I have to take care of," said Paxton.

Smoky skies are registering at unhealthy levels for everyone and are already affecting evacuees.

"I started getting dizzy today," said Kerry, an evacuee.

In Placerville, the smoke was registering off the charts at above 500 -- the highest measurement on the air quality index.

"Just don't breathe too much try to get by without breathing, that's the key," said Brad, an evacuee.

We asked the Red Cross what they are doing to help evacuees, including those who are camping outside by choice.

"We have established air scrubbers; they are large blue units that scrub the air for air quality standards, and the second thing, we are distributing N95 masks," said Red Cross spokesperson Kim Mailes.

Masks are given to the most vulnerable first, with more on the way. Those are measures Holly, an evacuee who has asthma, is happy to see.

"If I had to be outside breathing it all day long, I think I would really have some problems," she said.

It's a smoky situation that evacuees hope will clear soon.

"I just want to go home," said Kevin.

The Red Cross implemented these new changes at all of their four evacuation sites for Caldor Fire victims today. There is still availability at each shelter, but only one of them accepts pets.

The Red Cross is working with state and local partners to adjust as necessary.

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