SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) extended Spare the Air restrictions through Monday, Sept. 14, stretching the record-breaking streak to 28 days.
The district’s Spare The Air restrictions make it illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices.
Smoke from the many wildfires along to the west coast, stretching from Washington through Oregon to Southern California, continues to clog the air with smoke. Currently the air quality index for the Bay Area is “very unhealthy,” and according to forecasts from the National Weather Service, relief is unlikely to come soon.
“More than ever this weekend, residents should track air quality conditions in their communities and protect their health and avoid smoke exposure by staying indoors,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District.
The district issues Spare the Air alerts when pollution reaches or is forecasted to reach unhealthy levels. The previous Spare the Air streak was 14 days, issued during the Camp Fire of 2018.
In its alert, BAAQMD notes that smoke can “irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a dry scratchy throat and irritated sinuses.” Smoky air can be particularly harmful to elderly people, children and those with respiratory illnesses.
“If possible, stay inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside,” the alert states. “If temperatures are too hot indoors, visit an air-cooling center or other building that provides filtered air.”
To learn 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 www.sparetheair.org, call 1(800) HELP-AIR, download the Spare the Air App or connect with Spare the Air on Facebook or Twitter.