Bay Area hits record for number of Spare the Air alerts in 2020

Bay Area hits record for number of Spare the Air alerts in 2020

Smoke from wildfires has pushed the number of Spare the Air alerts for the Bay Area past previous annual records and the figure continues to climb, air district officials said Saturday.

The previous record for alerts was 46 days in 2017, an air district spokesperson said. The Bay Area surpassed that on Friday with the 47th air alert this year. And, on Saturday, the air district announced a Spare the Air for the region would be extended through Tuesday, marking the 51st such alert in 2020.

The alerts have been recently triggered by smoke drifting to the region from blazes burning in Northern California forests — the August Complex and Red Salmon Complex fires. Although onshore winds will blow the smoke from much of the Bay Area, impacts are still possible.

“Unfortunately, fires inside and outside of the region are still producing smoke and impacting air quality here in the Bay Area,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district. “This is a reminder that we are still in wildfire season and we must remain vigilant and stay indoors when smoke is impacting air quality to protect our health.”

During a Spare the Air Alert, it is illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices. The public can help reduce air pollution by reducing driving, avoid using lawn mowers and leaf blowers and cook indoors instead of on the barbecue, air district officials said.

The alerts are sent out when ozone or particulate pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels. When smoke reaches unhealthy levels, it is important that Bay Area residents protect their health by avoiding exposure, according to the air district. Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a dry scratchy throat and irritated sinuses. Elevated particulate matter in the air can trigger wheezing in those who suffer from asthma, emphysema or COPD.

Elderly persons, children and individuals with respiratory illnesses are particularly susceptible to elevated air pollution levels and should take extra precautions to avoid exposure, according to the air district.

To find out when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect, residents can sign up for text alerts by texting the word “START” to 817-57, register for email AirAlerts at www.sparetheair.org, call 1(800) HELP-AIR, download the Spare the Air App or connect with Spare the Air on Facebook or Twitter.

Bay Area Newssan francisco newsWildfires

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read