OAKLAND (KPIX/CBS SF) – On an ordinary day, from Oakland you can see clear across the bay to San Francisco. Saturday evening it was tough to see a few yards out because of the smoke from the Butte County fire.
The Bay Area is under a Spare the Air alert that likely won’t be lifted for days. This weekend’s outdoor events had to make the best of it.
San Francisco’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s got off to a smoky start Saturday morning.
“It’s smoky out here but not enough to not come out,” said participant Sarah Lasker. “Despite the air quality it’s been pretty amazing.”
“I was definitely worried about the air quality. I brought a mask,” said Alicia Berrios.
In the end, the air was so thick, organizers were forced to cut the walk short – from three miles to one.
“You don’t want to be breathing this in right now. It’s very unhealthy,” warns Walter Wallace from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “It’s not good for you and just please limit your time outdoors.”
That’s the message the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is trying to get across.
Models are showing the air is getting more polluted by the day, dropping from unhealthy earlier in the week to very unhealthy on Saturday.
Right now we are in the red for pretty much the entire Bay Area.
Store shelves were predictably picked clean of breathing masks, and parks all over were shut down.
Experts say, for now, there is no escape. The smoke filtering into the Bay Area has stagnated with no wind gusts to blow it out.
“So we’re hoping for some clean air to push in and hopefully make it better for all of us,” said Wallace.
The Air District says wind could make it into the forecast in the next couple of days to push the smoke out, but for events scheduled this weekend it won’t be soon enough. A half marathon scheduled in Napa tomorrow has already been cancelled.
Meantime, San Francisco Department of Emergency Services is advising residents to reduce outdoor exposure by closing windows and doors as Bay Area air quality continues to deteriorate because of smoke from the Butte wildfires.
People with heart or lung disease are advised to remain indoors and limit physical exertion, the agency said today. Those in good health are also encouraged to limit outdoor activities. Residents can visit www.sf72.org for more information on staying healthy.