Air Quality

Bay Area Residents Pack Up, Escape Bad Air Quality

“The air is unhealthy right now we’re happy that we’re getting away, just trying to stay safe."

NBC Universal, Inc.

Residents craving blue skies and clean air, might have to head east and cross state lines. That’s exactly what some desperate families in the Bay Area did Friday, boarded a plane to give their lungs a break. 

At the Oakland International Airport, the sky was so thick with smoke, you could hear planes take off, but you just couldn't see them. Inside those planes – many passengers feeling grateful that they’re heading somewhere where they can be outside and breathe easily. 

“I just wanted to protect my kids,” said Jenna Lerner from Orinda. “It’s a combination of COVID meets fire, meets yeah anxiety overall it's been a hard week.” 

So she packed a suitcase with her daughters’ clothes and booked three one-way tickets to Dallas, where her mother lives and where there’s bound to be blue skies. 

“We’re grateful that we can go to grandma’s house and have that opportunity,” Lerner said. 

The Bay Area is choking from weeks of smoke from multiple wildfires that have blackened our skies. Driving south on Highway 101 won’t give you that much relief because air quality is poor in Los Angeles as well. So the Lewis family from Oakland is going way south.

“Atlanta, Georgia,” said Doris Lewis. 

The closest big city to us that has clean air is Las Vegas, Nevada. The cheapest round trip flight we could find out of SFO costs at least $327. 

For these families, boarding a plane during a pandemic isn’t as scary as staying home.  

“The air is unhealthy right now we’re happy that we’re getting away, just trying to stay safe,” said Lewis.  

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