Bay Area air quality advisory extended through Sunday due to wildfire smoke

Smoke from wildfires will keep Bay Area skies hazy through Sunday, especially in northern and inland areas, but the Bay Area Air Quality Management District does not expect air here to become unhealthy this weekend.

"Based on the data we're receiving, we're seeing good and moderate air quality in the Bay Area," Walter Wallace, a spokesperson with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said Saturday, noting that some Bay Area residents, particularly in the North Bay and the greater Livermore area, may smell smoke in certain pockets of the environment, but "that doesn't necessarily mean it's unhealthy as an aggregate for the Bay Area."

Livermore residents were out playing basketball and enjoying a day at the park on Saturday, noting that the hazy sky was gloomy, but the air no longer smelled of smoke as it had on Friday.

Outdoor dining was also just as busy as usual in downtown Livermore on Saturday evening.

"They came out and they felt comfortable," Mike Allen, owner of First Street Wine Company in downtown Livermore said. 

Places above 1,500 feet in elevation, as well as parts of Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties and inland areas such as Concord and Livermore are most likely to be affected, the district said in a statement at midday Saturday. 

The Dixie and River fires, now united in a single complex in Butte and Plumas counties that has grown into the third-largest wildfire ever in California, was 21% contained at nearly 500,000 acres on Saturday, according to CalFire. 

Most smoke making its way to the Bay Area is from that complex northeast of Chico and from the Monument and McFarland fires west of Redding, according to the air quality district. 

The Monument Fire in Trinity County was 0% contained at more than 42,000 acres Saturday morning, and the McFarland Fire in Shasta County was 21% contained at 29,000 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service.   

Wildfire smoke can irritate the eyes and cause coughing, a scratchy through and sinus irritation, while particulate matter in the air can trigger wheezing, said the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which monitors and protects air quality in the nine-county region.  

If any Bay Area residents smell smoke outdoors, the district advised limiting exposure to it by staying indoors with windows and doors closed if possible. It also recommended setting home and vehicle air conditioning systems to re-circulate air rather than allowing air from outside to come inside. People who suffer from asthma, emphysema or pulmonary disorders and respiratory illnesses, as well as children and seniors, should take extra precautions, the air quality district said in its statement.