Another air quality advisory issued due to smoke from wildfires

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued an air quality advisory for Wednesday, due to the smoke from the ongoing wildfires in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest and a shift in the onshore wind pattern. 

"The wind is going to change tomorrow and bring some of the smoke down through the Sacramento Valley," Aaron Richardson, a spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District explained to KTVU.  

Wildfire smoke and a change in the wind pattern triggers air quality alert in the Bay Area for Wednesday, August 18, 2021. 

The advisory was issued following a series of similar warnings in recent weeks. Richardson said that most of the smoke impacts on Wednesday were expected to be more widespread than last week's, with more smoke potentially at lower elevations.


Wednesday's air quality was forecasted to be in the mid to high-moderate range, but conditions were not expected to hit levels exceeding federal health standards or prompt a Spare the Air alert. The sky might look hazy and smoky.  

"If the smell of smoke is present, it is important that Bay Area residents protect their health by avoiding exposure," the air district advised. "If possible, stay inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside, if temperatures allow. It is also recommended that those impacted by smoke set their air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside." 

Poor air can lead to irritation to the eyes and airways and cause coughing, a scratchy throat and affect sinuses. "Elderly persons, children and individuals with respiratory illnesses are particularly susceptible to elevated air pollution levels and should take extra precautions to avoid exposure," air district officials explained. 

So far, despite California’s active wildfire season, the Bay Area has seen more moderate air quality events with localized alerts. 

SEE ALSO: Bay Area air quality advisory extended through Saturday

That could change later in the fall when north to northeast winds tend to blow offshore, having major impacts here in the Bay Area as the region saw last year. 

"We’re not out of the woods yet," Richardson said. "We’ve been lucky the fires have been farther away, but we do expect that we'll have more periods when we see impacts of fire season… The conditions are unfortunately pretty good for wildfire," he added.

Residents were encouraged to go to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Fire and Smoke Map for comprehensive and up-to-the minute readings of the air quality in the region.