Wine country wildfires create hazardous air conditions for Bay Area residents

Faith Castro
October 13, 2017

Bad air quality is expected all around the valley on Wednesday.

Several counties in the Bay Area have issued hazardous level warnings as the poor air quality is expected to persist.

Continuing wind and wildfires today may cause residents to experience trouble breathing, coughing, headaches and chest pain.

"The North Bay fires have devastated families, homes, businesses, and schools across the region, and as first responders work tirelessly to put out the fires and aid those in need, Bay Area sports teams are unified in supporting relief efforts", said 49ers CEO Jed York via the statement sent out to the media. "PM2.5 is so small, about 1/30 the width of a human hair, that it can penetrate deep into the lungs".

In the San Francisco Bay area, air quality has deteriorated to such an extent that it has started affecting residents, prompting medical calls to local schools and compelling people to wear protective masks.

By early Wednesday, though, readings throughout much of the Bay Area had dropped to moderate levels. "An important thing is you may not have symptoms until after 36 hours after the exposure".

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Jim Roberts, a research chemist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System's Research Laboratory, told NBC that Rafusse's calculations "sounds about right". Please do not forget to check on your neighbors, especially the elderly or those who might be otherwise impaired by the conditions.

The school district canceled all athletic practices and games, and students were kept inside during recess.

That means residents who smell smoke in the area should stay indoors with their windows closed and air conditioning units on recirculate to stop outside air from entering indoors, according to air quality management officials.

More than 25,000 people have had to flee for safety from the wildfires.

The agency also warned against relying on dust masks for protection.

A series of deadly California wildfires have burned through some 170,000 acres statewide, but heavy smoke from the disaster zones drifted farther still as pesky particles of dust, ash and soot entered the lungs of residents almost 100 miles away.

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