Bay Area air quality diminishes as wildfire smoke settles in

Smoke from wildfires burning further north has drifted into the Bay Area – causing moderate air quality conditions.

In Walnut Creek, Justin Verley and his friends met at Heather Farm Park for a volleyball game. "It’s impacting me," said Verley about the smoke. "I noticed it while I was running around in front of the net. I was getting really winded early on."

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory through Saturday. The smoke is aloft, meaning it’s not at ground level. Air air district does not expect widespread unhealthy levels around here.

"You may smell smoke and if you do in those cases, if you aren’t near the fire, just know you are being affected," said BAAQMD spokesperson Walter Wallace. "Maybe limiting your exposure outside, making sure windows and doors are closed, things of that nature."

The smoke can irritate the eyes, cause a cough or scratchy throat. Those with respiratory issues like asthma, along with children and the elderly, should avoid exposure altogether.

Steve Hill with the Contra Costa Fire Protection District said the smoke should serve as a reminder of the dry and dangerous conditions here. "Even though this smoke is from distant fires, it’s important we keep our eye on the ball as residents of the area and do everything we can to prevent the next fire from starting," said Hill.

He advised creating defensible space around your home. Avoid using power tools during the hot time of the day. And remember something as simple as dragging a chain from a trailer could be disastrous if it causes a spark.

"We have very high fire danger across the region today and have had on weeks on end now. There’s really no end in sight," said Hill.