Wildfire smoke continues to affect air quality, Spare-the-Air alert extended to Sunday

Wildfire smoke continues to affect air quality, Spare-the-Air alert extended to Sunday

Wildfire smoke continues to affect air quality, Spare-the-Air alert extended to Sunday
Smoky skies in Clayton, CA. (Photo by Tamara Steiner)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is extending a Spare the Air Alert for wildfire smoke through Sunday, August 30, which bans burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors.

Wildfire smoke from the numerous fires inside and outside of the Bay Area will continue to cause elevated levels of smoke pollution over the weekend. Although there has been some recent improvement in air quality in the region – due to strong on-shore breezes and a lessening of fire intensity – air quality is still expected to become unhealthy in localized portions of the North Bay and Santa Clara County near the fires. It is illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices during a Spare the Air Alert for particulate pollution.

“Although air quality has improved in many parts of the Bay Area, some of our residents will still experience unhealthy levels of air pollution from the wildfire smoke throughout the weekend,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “For that reason, we’ve extended the Spare the Air Alert through Sunday and are asking Bay Area residents to remain aware of local conditions and stay indoors if smoke is impacting their neighborhoods.”

Spare the Air Alerts are issued when ozone or particulate matter pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels. If the smell of smoke is present or visible, it is important that Bay Area residents protect their health by avoiding exposure. If possible, stay inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside. If temperatures are too hot indoors, visit an air-cooling center or other building that provides filtered air. It is also recommended that Bay Area residents set air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside.

Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a dry scratchy throat and irritated sinuses. Elevated particulate matter in the air can trigger wheezing in those who suffer from asthma, emphysema or COPD. Elderly persons, children and individuals with respiratory illnesses are particularly susceptible to elevated air pollution levels and should take extra precautions to avoid exposure.

To find out when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect, residents can sign up for text alerts by texting the word “START” to 817-57, register for email AirAlerts at www.sparetheair.org, call 1(800) HELP-AIR, download the Spare the Air App or connect with Spare the Air on Facebook or Twitter.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area. Connect with the Air District via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.