SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced Monday that it’s extending its Spare The Air alert through Wednesday, making a record-breaking 23-day alert.
The alert comes as smoke from the various wildfires across the Bay Area continue to clog the skies. District officials also said that light winds plus scorching hot temperatures and vehicle exhaust were causing unhealthy amounts of smog.
“The Labor Day weekend heatwave, combined with tailpipe exhaust and lingering wildfire smoke, is expected to cause unhealthy air quality in the region,” Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District, said in an announcement about the Spare The Air alert. “Driving less can help reduce smog and heading indoors when smoke is present can help protect our health.”
The last record-breaking Spare the Air streak last 14 days and occurred in 2018, during the Camp Fire that burnt 153,336 acres and killed 85 people.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area. While the alert is in effect, it’s illegal for Bay Area residents to use fireplaces, wood stoves, barbecues and other wood-burning devices. The district also recommends that locals protect themselves by staying inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels decrease.
The Spare The Air Alert comes after the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning that goes into effect on 10 p.m. Monday and last until 8 a.m. Wednesday. Fire danger in a region already ravaged by wildfires would be heightened by winds gusting from 30-50 mph.
PG&E also warned that there could be power outages that could impact 5,656 customers in Napa County, including 186 medical baseline customers in Calistoga, Saint Helena and unincorporated areas. In neighboring Sonoma County, 210 customers faced the loss of power including 5 medical baseline customers in Cloverdale, Rohnert Park and unincorporated areas.
Officials said 48-hour notices had already gone out to customers who could be affected. Parts of all Bay Area counties except San Francisco were included in utility company maps of potential outages though PG&E said the changing weather conditions could alter those plans.
To find out when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect, residents can sign up for text alerts by texting the word “START” to 817-57, register for email AirAlerts at http://www.sparetheair.org, 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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