SAN FRANCISCO—Spare the Air issued its third alert of the year for Sunday, August 16, due to smog caused by vehicle exhaust emissions. The Bay Area Quality Management District and officials are requesting that the public refrain from driving and find alternate means of transportation.
There has been a substantial change in air quality recently due to heavy smoke lingering in the air from Northern California fires. The Marin County Fire Department urged residents with respiratory health issues to proceed with caution when going outdoors. Drifting smoke from wildfires have been reported in four Bay Area counties, spanning from Lake County to several areas on the Peninsula.
According to National Weather Service meteorologist, Ryan Walbrun, the majority of smoke drift into the Bay Area has been from wildfires in Trinity County, near the Oregon border. According to Walbrun, the smoke was carried by a north wind through the Sacramento Valley area. Walbrun anticipates that the smokey conditions will likely be lingering in the Bay Area until substantial ocean breezes are able to carry out the smoke.
Though the influx of smoke in the air has caused a noticeable difference in climate conditions, district spokesman Ralph Borrmann says that “the fire is a separate factor, and is not actually affecting air quality.” Borrmann stated that the air mass of smoke is suspended at a higher altitude, and that the primary problem with the air pollution has been caused by smog, but “the primary thing we are looking at is high levels of ozone.”
District officials stated that approximately 40 percent of smog in the Bay Area has been attributed to passenger vehicles, which can be significantly reduced by taking public transit and driving less.