Kincade Fire: Smoke smell grows stronger in San Francisco Bay Area due to Sonoma County wildfire

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Smoke from the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County has started drifting into the Bay Area, creating a wood burning smell in many cities including San Francisco.

ABC7 News Meteorologist Lisa Argen says the entire region including the North Bay, East Bay and South Bay is dealing with poor air quality Friday.

The smoke can make for beautiful sunrise and sunsets. But, if you smell smoke, you should take precautions.

RELATED: Does wearing a mask when it's smoky outside work?

"When you see that fiery orange sunrise, you know you've got some particulate matter, some pollutants down at the surface," Argen said.

A team of 25 at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District says the smoke from the Kincade Fire arrived Thursday evening and early Friday, propelled by northeasterly winds. However, don't be fooled into thinking it takes visible smoke to pose health hazards.

"Particulate matter pollution is invisible to the naked eye," said Sarah Zahedi, a district public information officer. "Because those particles are so small that they can bypass your lungs' natural defense systems. So just because you can't see the smoke doesn't necessarily mean you won't be impacted."

Children, seniors and people with asthma are the most vulnerable, according to Dr. John Balmes, a specialist in pulmonary critical care at UCSF. He recommends that people should stay indoors when it's smoky, avoid outdoor exercise and use air filters.

RELATED: SKY7 captures huge plume of smoke from Sonoma County wildfire

When people exercise they tend to breathe through their mouths, he said, which allows more particulate matter to enter the lungs. Erin Belshaw and Jonathan Gall endured the smoke from the wildfires over the past two years.

"I just remember it was hard breathing," Gall said. "It really irritated the lungs." To ease the discomfort, he said he wore a face mask.

However, Dr. Balmes says he has changed his mind about everyone wearing N95 face masks. He says there is little evidence they help healthy adults. Still, using them doesn't hurt.

The Air Quality Management District will be monitoring the particulate matter in the air throughout the nine Bay Area counties.

Get the latest developments on the Kincade Fire here.

ABC7 News Meteorologist Lisa Argen and reporter David Louie contributed to this report.
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