Air quality around the San Francisco Bay Area on 10 October 2017. Graphic: AirNow / EPA / Bay Area Air Quality Management District

By Amy Graff
10 October 2017

(SF Gate) – Raging wildfires across Northern California generated thick plumes of smoke that spilled across the greater Bay Area Monday morning and gave rise to dangerous air quality throughout the region.
The smoky haze was especially thick Monday morning, lightened in the afternoon and evening and returned heavy Tuesday morning, turning the sky brown and opaque, making breathing difficult for many and leading schools to keep kids inside at recess. Throughout the North Bay and into San Francisco, residents reported ash falling from the sky on Monday.

"We're seeing the worst air quality ever recorded in many parts of the Bay Area," says Tom Flannigan, the PIO for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. "The entire Bay Area population is likely being affected by the smoke."

The worst conditions were recorded near the heart of the Wine Country wildfires in the North Bay, where air quality reached hazardous levels Monday and again Tuesday morning. This means the amount of particulate matter in the air is at its highest.

"Up in the Napa area and even up in San Rafael, basically all of the North Bay, is experiencing the highest readings we've ever observed," Flannigan says.

The central part of the Bay Area also has very high readings and recorded unhealthy levels on both Monday and Tuesday morning. At this level "everyone may begin to experience health effects," and "members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects."

"I can't say those are the highest we've ever seen but they're very high in places like Berkeley, San Francisco, San Pablo, South Marin," says Flannigan. [more]

San Francisco Bay Area experiencing 'worst air quality ever in many parts'

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