Air quality concerns in the Bay Area

- Over the weekend, people in various parts of the Bay Area reported seeing ashes falling from the sky, as a result of the recent fires.

People tell KTVU with the frequency of fires, they are concerned with the impact on their health. But the spokeswoman for the Bay Area Air Quality District says the air looks worse than it is. 

The sky had an orange glow Monday morning as smoke from the County Fire and Pawnee Fire drifted over the Bay Area. 

In some places, ash rained down, leaving their mark on parked vehicles and homes. 

"All of a sudden, there were white flakes falling from the sky. It was very disturbing," said Haven Bourque of Oakland. 

"It makes things feel dirty and it is. It's pollution," said 78-year-old Szari Bourque.

It is pollution but the Bay Area Air Quality District says the air quality is still moderate to good because the smoke is trapped in the upper atmosphere, kept away from the lower atmosphere--the air that we breathe. 

"Those particles, although they look small, they are large enough that the body can expel them naturally. Blowing our nose, coughing, those come up so it's not as hazardous as it looks," said Lisa Fasano, spokeswoman with Bay Area Air Quality District.. 

She says last October's fires in the North Bay brought unprecedented unhealthy air quality levels. 

"We saw levels that were akin to Beijing, China. We're not seeing that now. We're seeing good to moderate air quality throughout the Bay Area," said Fasano. 

She says people do not need to avoid exercising outdoors. But folks may experience a scratchy throat and need to drink more water. People around Lake Merritt say the darkened skies was not a deterrent.

"Take care of yourself. Still get out and take care of yourself. Live your life The air quality in the Bay Area is good overall," said Scott Willis of Piedmont. 

"I can feel the breeze coming off the bay. The air feels good. I feel healthy when I breathe. It's completely different from the North Bay fires," said Haven Bourque. 

Air quality experts say the best way to clean off the ash .is to hose it down with water and do not use anything that will kick the particles up in the air.

Wth the July 4th coming, Fasano is cautioning people against playing with fireworks. She says the smoke from them contributes to poor air quality and they're a fire hazard. 

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