Bay Area Spare the Air Alert extended through Sunday due to wildfires

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has now extended the Spare the Air Alert through Sunday due to the growing wildfires.

“This is the first Spare the Air Alert we had to call for wildfires in 2020. That means wood burning is prohibited,” said Tina Landis, spokesperson for the District.

“We are seeing dozens of fires throughout the greater Bay Area. North Bay, South Bay, East Bay, and because of the way the valleys are situated, the way the wind moves through the Bay Area, the smoke is getting trapped in these valleys and causing high levels of pollution,” Landis added.

Ash traveling on the wind from the wildfires can be seen on the windows of vehicles here in San Francisco.

“The air quality index is currently at level red, which means unhealthy,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Public Health Department.

Dr. Colfax talks about the groups most vulnerable in the Spare the Air red air quality index.

“Members of sensitive groups include people with lung disease, including those who have asthma, C.O.P.D or Emphysema, older adults and children,” said Dr. Colfax.

Air quality management officials say most facial coverings offer a false sense of security in these unhealthy air quality conditions.

“The masks people are wearing for COVID won’t do anything for particulate matter. They’re not made for that. Bandanas, surgical masks, scarfs won’t stop the particulate matter from getting into your lungs. N95 or higher masks do prevent that but like I said, if you have a beard or a smaller face than what is normally supposed to fit, it won’t seal,” Landis said.

The best advice, officials said, is to stay indoors and keep your windows and doors closed.

If you have an air purifier, that helps, too.

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