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Tesla’s gigafactory is reportedly warning employees about smoke exposure amid the Mosquito Fire and changing air filters, but work continues

Firefighter Davis Sommer lights a backfire to burn off vegetation while battling the Mosquito Fire in the Volcanoville community of El Dorado County, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
Noah Berger via Associated Press
  • Tesla sent a memo to workers at its Nevada gigafactory regarding the Mosquito Fire, CNBC reports.
  • The California wildfire has led to poor air quality in the factory’s neighborhood.
  • Tesla said it has upgraded its HVAC filters and warned staff to wear masks outside, per the memo.

Tesla has updated its factory’s heating, cooling, and ventilation system and warned employees to wear N95 masks outside as wildfire smoke spreads through nearby towns, according to a recent report from CNBC.

The publication said Tesla sent out a memo to workers at its gigafactory in Nevada last week regarding the Mosquito Fire, and work has continued since then.

Over the past week, the Mosquito Fire has burned through over 70,000 acres of land in California. As of Monday morning, the fire was about 39% contained. But, smoke has filled Nevada towns, including Sparks, Nevada — the location of the Tesla gigafactory that employs thousands of workers.

In the memo, which was viewed by CNBC, Tesla said it had updated its HVAC system to “recirculation mode” in order to avoid pulling air from outside the building into the factory. 

The company also told workers it had upgraded the HVAC filters over the past year to better capture smoke particles and filter them out, and was replacing the filters more frequently, CNBC reported.

A spokesperson for Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.

On Thursday and Friday, air quality in the area was rated between “unhealthy” to “very unhealthy.” Since, the quality of air in the area has risen to “good” after rains came through the area over the weekend. On Wednesday, public school officials closed several campuses in Reno and Sparks, Nevada over the hazardous air quality.

It’s not the first time the factory has had to deal with the effects of a wildfire. Last year, California saw a slew of wildfires, several of which contributed to smoke concerns in Nevada.

But, Tesla workers at the Nevada gigafactory might not have a choice when it comes to remote work options.

Earlier this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Tesla staff to return to the office full-time or quit. The companywide email came shortly before the billionaire announced his plans to lay off 10% of the electric-car maker’s salaried employees.

Insider previously reported that Tesla had begun sending automated emails to workers who didn’t visit the office enough. Last month, CNBC reported Tesla managers were receiving weekly reports on employees’ office attendance.

Do you work at Tesla? Reach out to the reporter from a non-work email at [email protected]

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