Wildfires infect Bay Area with poor air quality, Spare the Air alert extended through Sunday

Wildfires burning in Northern California are affecting the air quality in Bay Area neighborhoods once again. According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Saturday marks the fourth Spare the Air alert of the year.

"My voice sounds kind of scratchy," said Kathleen Peterson of Pleasanton. 

According to AirNow, Pleasanton recorded air pollution levels of about 150 or more; that is considered unhealthy for everyone.

Despite the more than a dozen fires burning across the state, a district spokesperson says the Bay Area air quality is actually fairing better this year compared to last.

"So far this year we've had about 4 alerts due to wildfires," said spokesperson Ralph Bormann. "Last year at this time we had a straight month, day after day, of alerts."

Depending which way the wind blows will determine how often we'll wake up to hazy skies.

"I'm just walking so I feel okay being out," said Peterson. "But sometimes I ride my bike and I'm not going to do that today."

Doctors do recommend staying indoors with windows shut and central air systems on recirculate, but as long as you're not breathing the air for a straight 24 hours, experts say reactions will likely be minimal.

"This is something fairly short in duration," said Bormann. "It'll cause coughing, irritation problems with sinuses for some people. There are some people with pre-existing conditions who want to keep this in mind."