New Record: 23 consecutive Spare the Air Alerts worry Bay Area officials

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The previous record for Spare the Air Alerts was 14 days. 

Here in the Bay Area that happened during the Camp Fire back in 2018.

Air district officials tell KRON4, weather conditions from this year’s wildfires is setting a new record for unhealthy air quality of 23 consecutive Spare the Air Alerts. 

Bay Area Air Quality Management District Meteorologist, Charley Knoderer says, “The consecutive days are very alarming to us.”

Knoderer talks about the mix of record-breaking temperatures over the Labor Day weekend combining with lingering smoke from wildfires triggering the extended alert.

Knoderer adds, “as a result we had to call a Spare the Air Alert for smog. Which is usually really a mix of, usually, it is chemicals that come off of a tailpipe exhaust and that combined with heat generates what we call ozone and we refer to that as smog. The other thing we had going for us this weekend is the massive amount of smoke that’s been in the atmosphere for the past several weeks. Those emissions from wildfires do impact smog.”

Bay Area health officials say it is important during Spare the Air Alerts for residents to protect their health by avoiding exposure. If possible staying inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside

UCSF MD, family medicine Dr. Catherine Forest, family medicine says, “This is the way we protect one another.”

These Spare the Air Alerts are happening during the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why UCSF family medicine doctor Catherine Forest says if you just have to leave the house in these conditions the best protection would be, “The n95 mask will protect the person wearing it from in-coming smoke but the valve still lets your breath out. With COVID-19 virus you can still infect someone if you’re talking, breathing, sneezing. So you need to wear your cloth mask over that. this is the way we protect one another.”

Officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District say the Spare the Air Alert is extended to Wednesday Sept. 9.

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