SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued another air quality advisory covering the region for Saturday due to wildfire smoke.
It will mark the fourth straight day that the BAAQMD has had the Bay Area under an air quality advisory. The region has also been under a Spare the Air Alert — which bans the burning of wood or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors — since Thursday. The Spare the Air Alert expires after Friday.READ MORE: Fmr. Pinole Police Officer Allegedly Videotaped Himself Having Sex With Minor
Today, 8/20, Spare the Air Alert! Bay Area air quality is expected to be Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups in all regions. Tomorrow, 8/21, Air Quality Advisory! Air quality is expected to be Good in the Coast and Central Bay and the South Central Bay, Moderate in all other regions. pic.twitter.com/2kdtMPWnvJ
— Bay Area Air Quality (@AirDistrict) August 20, 2021
According to a release issued by the BAAQMD, smoke from wildfires in Washington, Oregon and Northern California that moved offshore since midweek will continue to impact the Bay Area on Saturday.
“We’re looking at unhealthy air quality down at ground level. We think it will be in the orange unhealthy for sensitive groups category,” BAAQMD spokesperson Aaron Richardson told KPIX 5.
The smoky air was inescapable for anyone who was outdoors in the Bay Area on Friday.
“You get this heavy feeling in your chest and it’s not allergies,” said Kim Vostermans who was out for a bike ride with her friend Kelly Hodge in Campbell.
“It’s hard to exercise, it’s hard to go on a walk, walk your dog, ride your bike. It’s hard to eat outside, hard to leave your doors and windows open in this heat. It’s a shame, but again, we’re not the ones trying to fight the fires,” Hodge told KPIX 5.
Rod Pomales pushed hard up Alum Rock Avenue in San Jose on his bike, with the bad air fully in view. “I can smell it a little bit. I’m not feeling it,” Pomales said.
Organizers of Campbell’s Boogie Music Festival — which was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic — are now hoping the air quality won’t keep people away this weekend.READ MORE: UPDATE: Woman Accused of Starting Fawn Fire Was Boiling Bear Urine to Drink
“I’m hoping that the wind kicks in a little bit tonight and shifts a little bit,” said Ken Johnson of the Campbell Chamber of Commerce.
Masks are optional at the festival but preferred now for a couple of reasons, including the smoke.
“It will potentially give people more of a reason to put on their mask if they didn’t want to. So the hope is to have fun and be safe,” Johnson said.
The fires in Northern California have burned more than 1 million acres, or 2,000 square miles during this destructive fire season. The Dixie Fire — which is spread over five counties — has burned over 700,000 acres alone.
The McFarlane Fire burning in Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties has burned nearly 116,000 acres, while the Caldor Fire in the Sierra Nevada grew again overnight and has now consumed over 73,000 acres, fire officials said Friday.
The lingering smoke drifting over the region will cause hazy, smoky skies with a detectable scent in the air in some areas, though officials noted pollution levels were not expected to exceed federal health standards. Air quality is expected to be in the good to low-moderate range on the Air Quality Index, so no Spare the Air Alert is in effect for Saturday.
The Air District will continue to monitor air quality throughout the region for smoke impacts from the ongoing wildfires.
When the smell of smoke is noticeable, Bay Area residents are advised to protect their health by avoiding exposure. All residents — particularly those with respiratory issues — are advised to stay inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside, if temperatures allow. The BAAQMD also recommends that those impacted by smoke set their air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside.
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 sparetheair.org, call 1(800) HELP-AIR, download the Spare the Air App or connect with Spare the Air on Facebook or Twitter.MORE NEWS: SF Police Arrest 2 Men Who Allegedly Shot Woman Who Refused To Give Them Her Camera
Len Ramirez contributed to this report.