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Lingering wildfire smoke from NorCal, Oregon fires prompts extension of Spare the Air alert

Bay Area suffers through third straight day of poor air quality from wildfire smoke
Bay Area suffers through third straight day of poor air quality from wildfire smoke 02:04

SAN FRANCISCO -- Officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District have extended a Spare the Air alert through Friday due to ongoing air quality issues caused by smoke from wildfires burning further north in California and southern Oregon.

Issues with Bay Area air quality due to the smoke began Tuesday morning, though the BAAQMD did not issue its initial Spare the Air alert until Wednesday. The alert which bans burning wood, or manufactured fire logs in fireplaces, wood stoves and inserts, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits, or any other wood-burning devices.

KPIX Weather Center: Current conditions, alerts, maps for your area

The announcement of the extended alert noted that concentrations of particulate matter pollution are forecast to be unhealthy. High levels of particulate matter pollution are harmful to breathe, especially for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. 

UPDATE 9/22: Persistent smoke from northern wildfires still impacting air quality; Spare the Air alert extended again

Among the wildfires that have smoke drifting south into the Bay Area are the Anvil Fire in Oregon, the SRF Lightning Complex Fire in Humboldt County, and the Smith River Complex Fire in Del Norte County.

ALSO READ: Smoky skies impacting daily life for some North Bay residents

Air quality readings Thursday morning ranged from moderate to unhealthy on the AQI scale across the Bay Area, with the AQI registering in the yellow "moderate" range across much of San Francisco and Marin County. The AQI for a majority of the East Bay and South Bay was still lingering in the orange "unhealthy for sensitive groups" range.

The worst air quality in the region was concentrated in the North Bay between Petaluma and Cloverdale, where readings in the red "unhealthy" range were more commont.

ALSO READ: Stanford study finds worsening wildfires limit gains in fighting air pollution

The air district said the smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a scratchy throat and irritated sinuses. Also, the elevated particulate matter in the air can trigger wheezing in those who suffer from asthma, emphysema or COPD. 

Children, the elderly, and people with respiratory illnesses were urged to take extra precautions to avoid exposure. Residents were advised to shelter in place if possible and to set air conditioning units and car vent systems to recirculate to keep outside air from moving inside.  

In addition to staying inside with the doors and windows shut, people were advised to wear a mask if venturing outside and to stay hydrated during this period of poor air quality.  

People can find the latest air quality readings in their part of the region by visiting:

AirNow -

IQAir -

Bay Area Air Quality Management District

Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District -

Purple Air -

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