Find filtered air, an N95 mask or better yet, leave the area

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)-- With a health advisory and Spare the Air Alert in effect due to unhealthy air quality from North Bay wildfires, San Francisco city officials have issued guidelines for health protection.

Residents should stay indoors with windows and doors closed when possible, avoid running fans that bring smoky air inside, run air conditioners only if they don't bring in smoke and consider leaving the area
if they experience smoke exposure symptoms, city officials said.

Six San Francisco libraries have air filters and are recommended to residents for respite from the poor air quality.

Four branches of the San Francisco Public Library, the main branch, Chinatown branch, Mission Bay and Glen Park branch all have filters. Their locations and hours of operation can be found at

Also, the Southeast Community Facility/City College of San Francisco library and the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco have filters. The location and hours of the City College library can be found on the college website, The location and hours of the Jewish Community Center library can be found at

City officials also said that residents should contact health care providers if they experience certain symptoms.

These include repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea, unusual fatigue or lightheadedness. 

In North Bay counties, 40,000 masks to filter out dangerous particles in smoke from the wildfires are being delivered or have already been delivered to fire evacuation shelters and to four North Bay counties, Bay Area Air Quality Management District officials said today.

The masks are known as N95 masks and have or will be delivered to evacuation centers and Napa, Marin, Sonoma and Solano counties.

"Particulate matter is particularly dangerous because it can bypass our body's natural filtration system and enter deep into the lungs and even the bloodstream," air district spokeswoman Kristine Roselius said.

Air district officials are advising people who remain in the fire areas to use an N95 mask to minimize breathing that particulate matter.

The particulate matter can have immediate health impacts, especially for people with respiratory conditions, children, and seniors.

But while the masks can help, the best course of action is to go into a building that has filtered air, Roselius said. The other option is to leave the area. Air quality alerts have been given throughout the San Francisco Bay Area since the wildfires started Sunday and burned tens of thousands of acres and left people homeless.

"We have never recorded higher levels of air pollution in the Bay Area," Roselius said. The air district was established in 1955.

Respite centers for clean air in San Francisco 

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