The longest string of Spare the Air alerts ever issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District because of wildfire smoke in the region will continue through at least Thursday, according to the air district.
The alerts, which ban the burning of wood and other solid fuel both indoors and outdoors, have come after lightning strikes in mid-August sparked wildfires around the Bay Area and elsewhere in Northern California.
The SCU Lightning Complex fires in the East Bay and South Bay and the LNU Lightning Complex fires in the North Bay are the second- and third-largest fires in state history in terms of acres burned.
Smoke from the fires is continuing to cause elevated levels of pollution that can cause health issues, particularly to those with pre-existing issues like asthma or emphysema.
For those who have been diagnosed with respiratory issues such as asthma, doctors say keep your rescue inhaler nearby and alert your doctor that you are having more difficulty than usual.
“What you’re inhaling is not just campfire smoke,” said Dr. Mima Petrick from Family Care Allergy and Asthma in the North Bay. “This is smoke that has particulate matter from burning structures, burning plastic, burning tires material, so it’s a lot of toxic material.”
The air district recommends that people stay inside with windows and doors closed until the smoke levels go down, and to set air conditioning and car vent systems to re-circulate to stop outside air from coming inside.