A cyclist wears a surgical mask while heading down Market Street as smoke from the Camp Fire in Northern California drifts down into the Bay Area creating poor air quality. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Bad air alert extended through Friday in Bay Area

Smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County will continue to billow across the Bay Area, officials said, as a Winter Spare the Air Alert has been extended through Friday.

Burning wood indoors or outdoors is banned through Friday, the Bay Area Air Quality
Management District announced today. That includes any form of solid fuel or manufactured logs.

“Any additional smoke from Bay Area chimneys could push the region into an even higher unhealthy air quality level, which puts us all in jeopardy,” Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district, said in a statement.

Officials advised Bay Area residents to limit outdoor activity for as long as the alert is in effect.

Some have taken to wearing various masks to block smoke inhalation. But officials advised masks should not be used instead of remaining indoors — which is far healthier.

If masks are worn they should be a new, clean N95 mask or of a greater strength that’s securely strapped for a tight seal. Across social media, San Franciscans are posting selfies to offer others tips, and simply to sound off.

“I found two N95 masks at an ACE (Hardware) store in SF this evening,” wrote Twitter user @Erika_M_T. “I could have bought ten, they had an ample supply.”

“Googling San Francisco coffee shops with filtered air,” wrote Twitter user @dgouldin.

“That’s not fog obscuring the San Francisco skyline – that’s smoke. The air is acrid,” wrote Twitter user @mollybloom, who posted a photo of her child in a mask, overlooking a smoggy San Francisco skyline. “This is how we walked to school today in our masks.”

Bay City News contributed to this report

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