Updated: Spare the Air Alert Extended Through Sunday

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The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has extended its Spare the Air alert through Sunday as smoke from the numerous fires around the San Francisco Bay Area is causing elevated levels of particulate pollution.

CALFIRE says the fires burning in 5 counties has burned more than 120,000 acres and just 5% contained.

Air quality is expected to be unhealthy with the heaviest impacts along the Peninsula, Santa Clara Valley and Livermore Valley, although smoke impacts are possible throughout the region.

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.

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.

Check the Air District’s Current Air Quality page for real-time air quality readings.