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Sep 28

Spare the Air Alert extended through October 2

Posted on September 28, 2020 at 8:31 pm by Clay Curtin

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District extended the current Spare the Air Alert due to wildfire smoke from the Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties through Friday, October 2, which bans burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors. In Menlo Park, this also means that gas-powered leaf blower use is prohibited on Spare the Air days per municipal code.

Wildfire smoke combined with high inland temperatures and combustion engine exhaust may cause unhealthy smog, or ozone, accumulation in the Bay Area.

Wildfire smoke from the Glass Fire in the North Bay will continue to impact the region. It is illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use their fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices during a Spare the Air Alert for particulate pollution. “Smoke from the Glass Fire will continue to impact the region throughout the week,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. “Residents should monitor air quality closely and avoid exposure if smoke reaches unhealthy levels.”

Spare the Air Alerts are issued when ozone or particulate matter pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels. If smoke reaches unhealthy levels, it is important that Bay Area residents protect their health by avoiding exposure. If possible, stay inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside, if temperatures allow. If temperatures are too hot indoors, visit an air-cooling center or other building that provides filtered air. It is also recommended that those impacted by smoke set their air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside.

Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a dry scratchy throat and irritated sinuses. Elevated particulate matter in the air can trigger wheezing in those who suffer from asthma, emphysema or COPD. Elderly persons, children and individuals with respiratory illnesses are particularly susceptible to elevated air pollution levels and should take extra precautions to avoid exposure.

Ozone, or smog, can cause throat irritation, congestion, chest pain, trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema. Long-term exposure to ozone can reduce lung function. Ozone pollution is particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. When a Spare the Air Alert is issued, outdoor exercise should be done only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.

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, call 1-800-HELP-AIR,
download the Spare the Air App or connect with Spare the Air on Facebook or Twitter.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area.