Air quality expected to deteriorate due to heat and smoke from California wildfires
SAN FRANCISCO – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is upgrading the air quality advisory that was in place to Spare the Air Alerts due to heat and wildfire smoke today, Friday, August 27, and tomorrow, Saturday, August 28. The burning of wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors is prohibited.
Air quality is expected to deteriorate due to smoke impacts from explosive wildfires across California.
Air quality is forecast to be ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ on the Air Quality Index in most of the Bay Area with pockets of ‘unhealthy’ air quality at higher altitudes. 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 particle pollution.
“As wildfires continue to burn in California, conditions are changing very quickly,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “Wildfire smoke is unpredictable. When wildfires are active, it’s important to stay alert and check air quality conditions to protect your health from smoke.”
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.
During wildfire incidents this year, the following resources may be of use:
- Current Air Quality
- EPA Fire and Smoke Map
- Air District Air Quality Data FAQs
- Air Quality Data Sources Explained
- Forecast and Air Quality Map
- Spare the Air website
- Air Quality School Activity Recommendations
- Wildfire Preparedness Tips
- Wildfire Smoke and COVID-19 (CDC)
- EPA Wildfire Information web page
- Largest California Wildfires graphic
- Wildfires and Climate Change graphic
- Air Purifier Instructions
- Clean Air Space Poster