Fire smoke impacts Bay Area, officials encourage residents to prepare

LOS GATOS, Calif. (KGO) -- Bay Area fire officials are encouraging all residents to prepare ahead of time in the event disaster strikes nearby. They're also reminding folks that even if you find yourself hundreds of miles away from the nearest major wildfire, there are steps you can take now if the smoke becomes a problem.

RELATED: California wildfire smoke makes for hazy skies in parts of Bay Area

With the wildfires burning to the north, many stores including Ace Hardware in Los Gatos, have stocked up on popular items such as air filters and N-95 respirators.
"If it's a repeat of last year, there's not going to be any around, and there's going to be a lot of people out of luck, especially for people who are older or sensitive to smoke," said Justin Rosgen, Ace Hardware manager.

Captain Bill Murphy with the Santa Clara County Fire Department says everyone should create a wildfire action plan that identifies several different escape routes from homes. An emergency kit with documents, medication, and extra clothes is also a necessity.

"When those fires are influenced by any amount of wind they spread very quickly," said Capt. Bill Murphy with the Santa Clara County Fire Department. "When we do issue evacuation warnings or orders, they need to take those seriously, but most importantly, they need to be prepared ahead of time, (so) they're not thinking about what they need to take or bring with them once those notices are issued."

RELATED: California fires prompt air quality advisory for Bay Area

Parts of the Bay Area could experience poor air quality this weekend. Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer, says you should stay indoors if you're sensitive to the smoke, and also consider designating what's typically referred to as a "clean room" within your home.

"A room with few windows and few doors, where you could get an air purifier, and just dedicate that room to be your clean air room," said Cody. "Also, pay attention to the air quality both where you are, and where you're planning to go."

Children are especially at risk for health effects from exposure to wildfire smoke and ash, mostly because their lungs are still growing, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

To check the air quality where you live, visit this page.

Get the latest on the Carr Fire here, the Complex Fire here and the latest on wildfires across California here.

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