Bay Area air is unhealthy to breathe and officials are advising the public to avoid outdoor activity as much as possible while smoke pours in from the deadly Camp Fire raging in Butte County some 180 miles away, according to Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
A Spare the Air alert is in effect through Saturday as fire crews continue to battle the 90,000-acre blaze that’s just five percent contained as of Friday at 6:30 p.m. And while some areas are technically "moderate" on the air quality index, the conditions are vastly poor Bay Area-wide.
"It varies from place to place. But for the most part, we've got very unhealthy air quality, especially in the North Bay, San Francisco, the East Bay and now it's even moved into the South Bay, so it's pretty region wide," said Kristine Roselius from BAAQMD.
San Francisco school officials said they're urging principals to halt any outdoor activities for all grade levels. "We are keeping all students indoors including for PE and sports activities to limit students' exposure to the air outside," said Lisa Dudnick from San Francisco Unified Schools.
In the North Bay some schools have closed their doors entirely. Friday night football games canceled. At Ace Hardware in Hayward, they had to restock he N-95 masks that help filter out the smoke.
While wearing a mask may help some people who have no choice but to go outside, air quality experts say the masks can lend a false sense of security. "You know, we're not recommending the masks. The best defense is to stay indoors with your widows and doors closed," said Roselius.
As for how long this haze will stick around, air quality experts say their forecast models are showing winds from the North-North-East. You can expect smokey skies through the weekend and into early next week.
To check air quality in your area, click here.