West Coast air quality is so bad, you have to drive past Las Vegas to breathe clean air

Monday, September 14, 2020
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California is dealing with some of the worst air quality in the world as the Bay Area continues its record-breaking Spare the Air streak with smoke from wildfires blowing over the region.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Trying to escape the smoke and terrible air quality that's been plaguing the Bay Area for nearly a month? You'd have to take a long road trip.

With major wildfires burning up and down the West Coast, air quality ranged from bad to hazardous for all of California, Oregon and Washington Monday. The entire Bay Area's air quality was in the "unhealthy" category, shown as red in the map below. Things were even worse to our north in Oregon, where the Air Quality Index is so high, the air is considered outright hazardous.

LIVE: See how smoke from wildfires is impacting San Francisco Bay Area

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There is so much wildfire smoke choking the West Coast, the closest place with clean air midday Monday was all the way in southern Nevada, just north of Las Vegas. Much of Utah and Arizona were also in the green.

But not all of the Mountain West was breathing clean air Monday. ABC7 News' interactive air quality map above showed Idaho and most of Montana choked in wildfire smoke blowing east from Oregon.

The Air Quality Index, or AQI, in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland around noon Monday was hovering just under 200, bordering on the "very unhealthy" classification.

Monday marks the 28th straight Spare the Air day for the Bay Area -- an all-time record for most consecutive Spare the Air alerts.

MORE: Unhealthy air quality persists today

Air quality is expected to finally start improving on Tuesday. See Meteorologist Mike Nicco's smoke forecast in the video at the top of this story.

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