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Poor Bay Area Air Quality Expected Because Of Heat, Kincade Fire

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the San Francisco Department of Public Health are warning residents about potential hot weather and poor air quality expected in the Bay Area beginning Friday.

The combination of high temperatures across the Bay Area and expected wildfire smoke from the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County may cause a simultaneous heat and poor air quality event.

Residents were reminded to keep cool and hydrated when the weather is hot and the air quality is poor. However, the alert also comes as large parts of the Bay Area residents will have their power shut off because of the threat of wind-fueled wildfires.

Strong winds are also forecast for the Bay Area this weekend. Weather officials are forecasting critical fire conditions with winds being the strongest since the ones that fanned the North Bay fires in 2017.

A Spare the Air alert issued for Thursday by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District was extended into Saturday because of the drifting smoke from the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County.

Winds are expected to increase significantly starting Saturday night and, if there are no additional fires, that may help move smoke out of the region, district officials said.

Air quality impacts are still possible in the Bay Area on Sunday and Monday due to unexpected weather shifts or local wildfires.

Areas closest to the fires are expected to have localized smoke impacts through Saturday. If the smell of smoke is present, residents should stay indoors, said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district. High temperatures also bring added concerns, he said.

"It is important to remember that protecting yourself from heat should take precedence over unhealthy air quality," Broadbent said. "If temperatures are too hot indoors, visit an air-cooling center, library, movie theater or other building that provides filtered air."

When there is heavy smoke, residents should stay inside with windows and doors closed until it subsides. It is also recommended that air-conditioning units and car vent systems be set to re-circulate.

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.

For real-time air quality readings, visit the BAAQMD website.

To find out when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect, residents can register for email AirAlerts at, call 1(800) HELP-AIR, download the Spare the Air App or connect with Spare the Air on Facebook or Twitter.


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