SF experienced a smoky haze starting Tuesday, September 19. Many residents may have smelled the smoke or noticed the hazy skies in San Francisco yesterday. While smoky skies have happened before in SF, it can always be unnerving when it happens. Keep reading to learn more about the current air quality in the Bay Area.
Why is there smoke in SF right now?
The smoke impacting San Francisco is from wildfires in Oregon. While San Francisco is far from the fires, the smoke has reached all the way to the bay.
How long is the smoke expected to last?
The poor air quality won’t last long. AirNow predicts the smoke’s presence will reduce to moderate levels for Friday and Saturday and return to good quality by Sunday.
What can San Franciscans expect?
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a Spare the Air Alert for Wednesday, September 20, and Thursday, September 21. According to their latest Wildfire Smoke Media Briefing, SF’s air is currently unhealthy for sensitive groups. The site forecasts that tomorrow’s air quality will be at similar levels as today’s.
Who qualifies as a sensitive group?
Older adults, people with heart or lung disease, children, and teens are all considered sensitive groups. They are advised to shorten their time outdoors when they can and opt for less strenuous outdoor activities. If you can’t change your schedule to avoid the smoke, AirNow notes there are some times during the day when the air quality may be better, and you can check for frequent updates on their website.
The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (@sf_emergency on Twitter/X) urges SF residents to stay indoors during poor air quality. If you must leave to go out for an essential activity, wearing a mask is heavily advised
Where can I go to avoid the smoke?
The SF Public Libraries are open to the public and will keep several branches throughout the city that have proper air ventilation. The Main, Chinatown, and Mission Bay branches will serve as Air Respite Centers for those who need them.
Are there any restrictions in place because of the smoke?
Spare the Air has issued an alert for Wednesday, 9/20, and Thursday, 9/21, banning wood burning indoors and outdoors in the Bay Area.
For questions and hourly updates, San Franciscans can learn more about the current Air Quality Health Advisory here.