Wildfires and smoke

Climate change is real and affects health in many ways. If you see or smell smoke in the immediate area, limit or avoid outdoor activity, including exercise. This particularly applies to children and older adults, people with breathing or heart issues, such as asthma and pregnant individuals.

Wildfire smoke inhalation prevention


Bay Area residents impacted by wildfire smoke are advised to:
  • Stay indoors with windows and doors closed, where air quality is better.
  • Keep indoor air cool or visit an air-cooling center.
  • Set home and car ventilation systems on re-circulate to prevent drawing in outside air.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water.
  • Limit or avoid outdoor recreational and sports activities.
  • Use an air filter, especially if there are household members with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions, or elderly persons and children.
  • Avoid using wood-burning stoves or fireplaces, lawn mowing, leaf blowing, burning candles and incense, barbecuing, smoking.
  • If possible, leave the affected area for the duration of a heavy smoke event.

Using a mask during smoke events

  • N95 masks or higher are a last resort, for people without access to safer indoor filtered air.
  • Some specific masks (N95s or higher) may be helpful for those who must be outdoors for long periods, but they must fit well and provide a tight seal around the wearer's mouth and nose to be effective.
  • N95 masks require a tight seal to work, thus may not protect men with beards or young children.
  • Persons with chronic breathing or heart issues or other medical conditions, should check with their health care provider before using an N95 mask, as they can make breathing more difficult.
  • Bandanas (wet or dry), paper or surgical masks, or tissues held over the mouth and nose will not protect from wildfire smoke or small particulate matter in the air.
  • View guidance and images form the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Additional resources

Air quality forecasts and alerts

  1. Spare the Air Status for Thursday, September 24, 2020

    No Alert

  2. BAAQMD Air Quality Forecast for Thursday

    AQI and Pollutant Forecast for Thursday by district. North Counties - AQI: 41, Pollutant: OZONE. Coast and Central Bay - AQI: 33, Pollutant: PM2.5. Eastern District - AQI: 42, Pollutant: OZONE South and Central Bay -...

  3. BAAQMD Air Quality Forecast for Friday

    AQI and Pollutant Forecast for Friday by district. North Counties - AQI: 68, Pollutant: PM2.5. Coast and Central Bay - AQI: 46, Pollutant: PM2.5. Eastern District - AQI: 66, Pollutant: PM2.5 South and Central Bay -...

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