The view of the Bay Bridge and East Bay from Bernal Heights Park is obscured as smoke from numerous wildfires chokes the Bay Area. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner file photo)

Smog, smoke and heat push Spare-the-Air alert for Bay Area through Wednesday

Record-breaking streak of bad air days for the region in its fourth week

The murky haze of smoke and smog over the Bay Area is expected to linger for at least two more days and a Spare the Air alert has been extended through Wednesday, air district officials said Monday.

A record-breaking streak of Spare the Air alerts for the region is in its fourth week, with Tuesday and Wednesday the 22nd and 23rd consecutive days.

“The Labor Day weekend heat wave, combined with tailpipe exhaust and lingering wildfire smoke, is expected to cause unhealthy air quality in the region,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The air district is urging residents to drive less and stay indoors to protect their health during smoggy and smoky days.

On Tuesday, light winds along with scorching inland temperatures and car exhaust are predicted to cause unhealthy smog, or ozone, accumulation in the Bay Area. Through Wednesday, smoke from the Woodward Fire in Marin County and the August Complex in Mendocino County are expected to bring isolated areas of unhealthy air to areas of the North Bay, San Francisco, portions of the East Bay and potentially Vallejo.

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 during a Spare the Air Alert for particulate pollution.

Smoke can irritate 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.

Ozone, or smog, can cause throat irritation, congestion, chest pain, trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema. Long-term exposure to ozone can reduce lung function. Ozone pollution is particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions.

When a Spare the Air Alert is issued, outdoor exercise should be done only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.

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.

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