The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is extending an air quality advisory through Thursday, August 9, in the Bay Area, including South County and northern San Benito County. Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy and Hollister early Wednesday, Aug.8, began experiencing brown, hazy skies, the smoke impacts from the Mendocino Complex Fire and other wildfires.
Starting Tuesday afternoon and continuing into Wednesday, smoke impacts became more widespread and at ground level at times. Due to active wildfires and changing wind patterns, air quality throughout the Bay Area is likely to be impacted through most of the week.
A regional Spare the Air Alert was called, because air quality exceeded federal standards. The Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring air quality every 20 minutes. Updates are posted at https://airnow.gov.
If the smell of smoke is present, it is important that Bay Area residents protect their health by avoiding exposure. If possible, stay inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside. Set air-conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside.
Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, a 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.