OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a third consecutive Spare the Air alert for Wednesday because of unhealthy ozone accumulation forecasted.
The alert, prompted by triple-digit temperatures inland, light wind and vehicle exhaust combining to create unhealthy air conditions in the region, is the 11th of the summer season, according to the air district.
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Smoke from the Soberanes Fire in Monterey County is also expected to impact the Bay Area’s air quality over the next several days, air district officials said.
“It’s important that residents take precautions to protect their health by avoiding outdoor activities, especially when they can smell smoke, and avoid driving to reduce overall pollution,” air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement.
Health officials are warning the smoke could affect children, the elderly and anyone with a respiratory condition.
“People in these groups should try to stay indoors. And if they need to go outside, they should limit their time outdoors,” said Dr. Sara Cody with the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health. “And they should definitely avoid any strenuous exertion.”
San Jose State University Meteorology Professor Craig Clements said the region is getting the smoke, even though the fire itself is traveling away from the Bay Area.
“The winds in the Bay Area are very complex,” explained Clements. “The wind may be moving in one direction — pushing the fire away from us — but the plume of smoke can get injected into the upper atmosphere and it gets transported from the south to the north.”
Clements said the air quality was marginally better Wednesday than it was Tuesday because the wind has started to disperse the smoke.
But until it the smoke is gone, health officials say you’re better safe than sorry.
” If anyone is outside doing an activity and they start to feel sick — scratchiness in their lungs or shortness of breath — they should go inside,” said Dr. Cody.
Residents are encouraged to carpool, bike, walk or take public transit to work instead of driving alone. A list of commute programs available can be found online at www.stacommutetips.org.
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