Update on power and wildfire smoke

Stanford is continuing to monitor two issues in the Bay Area – ongoing PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs and the spread of smoke from a wildfire in the North Bay. While there is no emergency at Stanford at this time, we want to keep members of the university community updated on our monitoring and preparations should the situation change.

Any emergency updates will be provided to the university community via the AlertSU system and posted on this page.

PG&E power: PG&E has indicated that it may initiate another Public Safety Power Shutoff sometime this weekend due to the arrival of strong winds in the region. At this time, Stanford’s campuses are NOT included in the areas identified by PG&E as being potentially subject to a power shutoff. PG&E’s map is available here, and a specific address look-up is available here.

Many nearby areas could be affected by a shutoff, however. If you live in one of these areas, please take the necessary preparatory actions. Employees who believe their home or children’s school could be affected by a power shutoff are encouraged to consult with their manager about any alternate work arrangements that may be needed.

Wildfire smoke: Stanford also is monitoring the potential for poor air quality due to the wildfire in Sonoma County. We are monitoring the Air Quality Index (AQI) at the nearest official reporting station, in Redwood City, through the AirNow website. This morning the AQI at that location has been in the “Moderate” range, though it is forecast to reach the lower end of the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” range later today.

Environmental Health & Safety has posted additional information about its monitoring of the situation, along with guidance for protection from wildfire smoke, here and here.

In general, when wildfire smoke affects local air quality, the following steps are encouraged:

  • Limit strenuous outdoor activity where possible.
  • For more susceptible populations, including older adults, children and those with pulmomary/respiratory conditions, minimize time spent outdoors.
  • When indoors, keep windows and doors closed.
  • In vehicles, use air-recirculation mode.
  • Drink plenty of water to help minimize potential irritation.

If the situation changes: If air quality begins reaching unhealthy levels, limiting exposure is still the best step to take. However, in the event of unhealthy outdoor air conditions, N95 respirator masks will be available for members of the university community who feel they need one. To be effective, a mask needs to be fitted properly with a seal. The EH&S website has additional information about the proper use of N95 masks.

If the air quality situation deteriorates significantly this weekend, the university will provide additional information about the availability of N95 masks, suggested facilities for those seeking clean indoor air, curtailment of any university operations, and other questions. Information will be provided through the AlertSU system and posted on this website. Those attending Reunion Homecoming activities this weekend will be informed via the Reunion Homecoming app and website.

It is always recommended that those who may be particularly sensitive to smoke consult their medical provider in preparation for any wildfire smoke event. As with the power situation, we encourage managers to consider the needs of employees and have proactive discussions with employees about any alternative work arrangements needed due to health concerns.