Day 16: Bay Area continues streak of Spare the Air alerts

A new record is set for the number of consecutive spare the air alerts issued in the Bay Area. Despite increasing containment on Northern California wildfires, smoke continues to be a problem and poses a health risk.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a spare the air alert for the 16th day in a row, breaking the old record of 14 days set back in 2018 during the Camp Fire.

The alert is in effect Thursday too and it could be extended even further with triple-digit temperatures forecasted this weekend in some areas, “Going to make firefighting a lot more difficult so we’ll have to see how that goes,” said Ralph Borrmann, a spokesperson with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Borrmann said there are isolated pockets of poor air quality in the North Bay and Peninsula. As the wind shifts throughout the day, air quality could be anywhere from good to unhealthy depending on where you live.

“This afternoon we could see a shift where some of that smoke that’s currently in the Peninsula could move in a southerly direction,” said Borrmann.

The Spare the Air Alert educates people on current air quality, how to reduce air pollution and protecting yourself from harmful pollutants. Borrman suggested staying inside with your windows and doors closed and setting your air conditioning and car vents to re-circulate to stop outside air from coming in.

During the pandemic, when staying home is recommended, it’s tough for some to not even find relief in their own backyards, “We’re sheltering kind of in place at our house but we have to be inside all the time,” said Brad Krebs of Pleasant Hill.

You can sign up for text alerts to find out when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect by texting the word START to 817-57.