Bay Area residents advised to keep windows, doors shut through Saturday due to wildfire smoke

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Saturday, August 7, 2021
Bay Area advised to keep windows, doors closed due to smoke
Bay Area residents are advised to keep their windows and doors shut through Saturday as wildfire smoke continues to plague the area.

Bay Area residents are advised to keep their windows and doors shut through Saturday as wildfire smoke continues to plague the area.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced Friday it was extending an air quality advisory issued earlier this week until Saturday due to smoke from the McFarland, Monument and River Complex fires further north in California.

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Though residents in much of the Bay Area could smell and see smoke in the air Friday, it isn't expected to cause widespread unhealthy air quality due to its elevation.

On Friday afternoon, people told ABC7 News they were starting to feel the impacts of the smoky skies hanging over the Bay Area.

Along Main Street in Pleasanton, many opted to sit indoors, pointing to some discomfort during the daytime.

"It's a heaviness, like somebody's sitting on my chest," Pittsburg resident Donna McGrath explained.

"My eyes were burning and watering, and I felt congested," Pleasanton resident Polly House told ABC7 News. "It was bad. It was really bad."

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"I felt a little bit of it in my eyes," resident Elizabeth Baxter shared.

San Lorenzo resident Jennifer Elliott described, "I started choking because my throat got super dry, and I was like having an allergy attack."

Late Friday, air quality moved to "moderate" levels in parts of the Bay Area. However, in others, readings showed the air was unhealthy for sensitive groups.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District warned higher elevation locations like Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties may experience worse conditions.

"I went out and I thought, today's gonna be the day I'm gonna take a brisk walk," Pleasanton resident Kathi Lloyd told ABC7 News. "Then I looked and thought, no I'm not."

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"I was planning a hike on Sunday. I'm kinda rethinking that one. I might just kinda scale my hike back a little bit. Kinda, just not spend as much time exposed to it," Pittsburg resident TB Collins said.

Residents in and around Pleasanton, knowing all too well the realities of having multiple fires burning so close to home.

"That's not fog, it's smoke," Elliott said. "Which reminded me of last year. We had the orange sky."

By Friday night, firefighters continued to battle the number of wildfires, raging farther north.

"I feel terrible for people who are in these areas who are actually closer to the fires," Pleasanton resident Salim Catrina shared. "Because it's hot, and it's scary... and it's terrible."

Lloyd told ABC7 News, she also feels for the firefighters on the front lines.

"We can enjoy our lives as long as we want, but I have a feeling that they're on high alert," she said. "And I know that their families must be getting concerned because they're thinking... here we go again."

Residents should protect their health by avoiding exposure to smoke. The air district recommends staying inside with windows and doors shut until the smoke levels subside and to keep air conditioning and car vent units recirculating air, rather than bringing in outside air.

Smoke exposure may cause individuals to experience irritation in their eyes, airways and sinuses, coughing or a scratchy throat. Children, elderly residents and individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD are particularly cautioned to avoid exposure, as they may experience wheezing or worse symptoms.

Bay City News contributed to this report.