Wildfire smoke from CA-OR border causing poor air quality conditions across Bay Area

ByLena Howland KGO logo
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Wildfire smoke causing poor air quality conditions across Bay Area
The Bay Area Air District has issued an air quality advisory through Thursday for wildfire smoke coming from the Northern California Oregon border. Here's when the smoke is expected to clear.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Bay Area Air District has issued an air quality advisory for wildfire smoke through Thursday after a Spare the Air Alert Wednesday.

SKY7 video from above San Francisco Wednesday, clouded, by smoke.

"It is unbelievable, what a beautiful city though, what a beautiful city... when it's not smoky," James Domkoski, a Las Vegas resident said.

LIVE: Track Bay Area air quality levels

A similar view from across the Bay in Emeryville, where the smoke was so thick, you could no longer see the Golden Gate Bridge.

James Domkoski out of Las Vegas says it's a night and day difference compared to his last visit earlier this month.

"Two weeks ago when I was out here, it was so beautiful, such a beautiful sunny day, it's just gorgeous, you could see everything, with Alcatraz, Golden Gate and now look at it, you can't see anything!" he said.

Conditions reached a point where the Bay Area Air District issued a Spare the Air Alert for Wednesday.

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"Because we believe ozone will be at unhealthy levels and there's another thing going on which is, we're getting smoke from the fires going on, on the Northern California Oregon border and some of that is filtering down to us as well," Ralph Borrmann, a spokesperson for the Bay Area Air District said.

One of those fires is the Smith River Complex Fire, which has ballooned to nearly 80,000 acres.

"With a wildfire, even though it's happening hundreds of miles away, the winds can carry it into the Bay Area and we can smell it, we can see it," Borrmann said.

Michael Schmeltz, a Public Health Professor for Cal State East Bay says the monitors are edging right up to the 'unhealthy for sensitive groups,' meaning those with underlying health conditions will likely feel the effects of the smoke more than the general public.

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"It may be warranted that you sort of reduce your outdoor activities, stay outside, have the windows closed, if you have an air filter, or an air conditioner, to start running those in the evening," Schmeltz said.

Despite these conditions, ABC7 News Reporter Lena Howland found no shortage of people getting outdoors, taking in the hazy views.

"I hope you know, it gets better because I feel like today was the worst day, it wasn't this bad yesterday," Christina, a Richmond resident said.

As for when this smoke is expected to clear, experts tell us the Bay Area could be in luck by the weekend.

"We do expect that as of tomorrow (Thursday) evening, those impacts are going to be less, the smoke gets pushed more to the east and away from the Bay Area and that should continue throughout the weekend," Borrmann said.

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