Unhealthy air quality lingers in Bay Area

- All of the smoke from the Camp Fire is affecting the air quality in the Bay Area. A “Winter Spare the Air” alert is in effect until Monday at midnight.

Visitors saw a view of all the smoke from Twin Peaks in San Francisco on Sunday. The stagnant smoke covered up iconic landmarks and the lights of the city were dulled by hazy skies.

“Each time I breathe, I feel like I’m smoking in some very dangerous and poisonous air,” said Bo Yan of Los Angeles.

For Bay Area natives, the murky skies were quite a spectacle.

“It’s strange sort of seeing and smelling what's in the air right now because I have friends who have friends in Chico,” said Patrick Ramsey of San Francisco. “Everyone is okay but it's a strange feeling safe when there's evidence of people not feeling safe all around us.”

“It is to be taken seriously,” said Roger Schachtel of San Francisco. “This is horribly magnificent in its own way.”

The San Francisco Airport Duty Manager said 22 flights were delayed and two flights were canceled Sunday due to poor visibility.

“Air quality improved only very slightly in a few remote areas,” said Lisa Fasano with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “We are still unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

The air quality index shows particle pollution remained at an unhealthy level for most of the Bay Area. The air district recommends staying indoors and having air conditioners on recirculate before resorting to wearing a face mask.

“Medical masks are usually thinner,” said Fasano. “They are not N95 masks. N95 masks are a thicker mask. They seal much tighter.”

Many people wore face masks on the streets of San Francisco on Sunday. In an unprecedented move, St. Antony’s transformed its dining hall into an emergency shelter for the homeless so they can breathe a little easier at night.

“We have a lot of vulnerable people who we serve who are either elders or children or have multiple health problems. There's nowhere to go for clean air,” said Marnie Regen of St. Antony’s. “The air is dirty and it's scary. Just a lot of worry in the air so it's the right thing to do.”

 

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