As Wildfires Blaze, Air Quality Worsens

As wildfires in multiple North Bay counties devastate communities and displace thousands of residents, air quality in San Francisco and Oakland continues to deteriorate.

According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, wildfires have already caused “unprecedented levels of air pollution” throughout the Bay Area. 

Yesterday, saying that it was “imperative that Bay Area residents protect their health,” the agency extended a health advisory and Spare the Air Alert throughout the weekend. It also warned residents to monitor air quality as conditions could change quickly. 

People with heart and lung conditions, the elderly, and children are especially at vulnerable and should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Others should reduce their outdoor activities and take more breaks.

“We’re at Delhi level of air quality the last few days,” said Dr. John Balmes, professor of medicine at UCSF and professor of environmental sciences at UC Berkeley. 

He recommended that even healthy people not exercise heavily. “When you exercise, you have to breathe more per minute and increase the doses of smoke,” he explained. “You also tend to breathe through your mouth and bypass the filtration system in the nose.”

In Oakland, the school district is offering students who wish to stay at home an excused absence. The…

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