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Persistent smoke from northern wildfires still impacting air quality; Spare the Air alert extended again

Lingering smoke continues to impact air quality across the Bay Area
Lingering smoke continues to impact air quality across the Bay Area 02:15

SAN FRANCISCO – Wildfire smoke continues to persist in the Bay Area, prompting the region's air quality regulators to extend the current Spare the Air alert into Saturday as local residents wonder when the skies will finally clear.

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. It was later extended to Friday before yet another Spare the Air alert was called for Saturday at around 10:30 a.m.

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. 

If people smell smoke, the district advises them to stay inside with windows and doors closed, and to set air conditioning units and car vent systems to recirculate to prevent outside air from coming inside.

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 Friday morning were mostly in the orange "unhealthy for sensitive groups" range on the AQI scale across the Bay Area, with some locations registering in the red "unhealthy" range indicating an AQI of 150 or more. Surprisingly, some of the worst air quality in the region could be found on the coast with Montara and Half Moon Bay reading in the red "unhealthy" range.

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. 

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.  

The Bay Area office of the National Weather Service said air quality should gradually improve Friday, with much more improvement anticipated by Saturday evening ahead of a weather system that may bring rain to the Bay Area late Sunday night into Monday.

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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