(CBS SF) — In an unusual move, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a Winter Spare the Air Alert from today all the way through Monday because of heavy smoke and particulates drifting into the Bay Area from the so-called Camp Fire which continues to rage in Butte County.
In addition, the National Weather Service has simultaneously issued a red flag warning and a frost warning for the region this weekend — fire danger is high for the Santa Cruz Mountains, the North Bay and the East Bay hills because of windy, dry conditions in the forecast, yet frost is also likely because of overnight temperatures dropping into the low 30s Saturday morning, mainly in the North Bay and southern Salinas valleys.
The extended air quality alert was issued because smoke from the Camp Fire continues to cause elevated levels of particulate pollution in the region, especially impacting the North Bay and East Bay, officials said.
Unhealthy air quality conditions are expected to persist through Monday and perhaps longer as northeasterly winds, forecast for the weekend, will continue to drive smoke this way. In addition, a continuing high-pressure system over Northern California is trapping the bad air at ground level.
Outdoor and indoor burning of wood or any other solid fuel is prohibited for the duration of the alert.
It is recommended to limit outdoor activities as much as possible.
Smoke from wildfires contains chemicals, gases and fine particles that are harmful. The biggest hazard is from breathing in the fine particles, which can reduce lung function, worsen asthma and exacerbate existing heart and lung conditions, officials say.
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