Fires not affecting Bay Area air

Despite hazy skies Southern California is facing this week due to numerous fires scattered around theregion, Bay Area residents can breathe easy, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

“As of yesterday, we were not seeing impacts to air quality in the Bay Area,” district spokeswoman Karen Schkolnick said today.

Aerial photos have shown smoke from the fires heading out to sea and then “boomeranging” back toward Northern California, said Schkolnick. But what the photos aren't showing is that the smoke is much higher in the atmosphere by the time it comes north.

As many as 22 separate fires have consumed regions in six southern counties. San Diego has been one of the worst hit areas. More than half a million people have evacuated their homes and more than 450,000 acres have been destroyed. There have been at least three confirmed deaths and dozens of injuries.

“Our community residents here may see in the morning or in the afternoon (that) the sky appears redder or hazier,” Schkolnick said. But she explained that the still-air weather the area is experiencing is more to blame than the fires in the south.

“It's not necessarily part of our breathing column,” she explained. “It is fair to say the air quality has been good the last few days.”

Schkolnick said that Bay Area residents can help improve the air during still weather by driving less and not burning wood.

— Bay City News

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