Fires burning in Yosemite, Calaveras County and eastern Contra Costa County are now sending smoke into the Bay Area and affecting air quality in the region.
Smoke in the sky is making it hard for some people in Pittsburgh to breathe. The smell is so bad that many people walking out of their homes got a breath of fresh air and decided to turn around and stay home.
“When you’re on the freeway, you see this big cloud,” said Pittsburgh resident Kathy Boyd.
Smoke from the Washburn Fire that burned in Yosemite National Park has triggered an air quality advisory for the North and East Bays. Air quality officials said it was now more of a nuisance than a health threat.
“We’re not supposed to call a Spare the Air alert because of an overshoot, but we want to make sure we’re responsible by letting people know we might see localized impacts,” said Walter Wallace of Bay Area Air Quality. Management District.
While some areas just saw the smoke, Pittsburgh smelled it.
“I get out of it and go home where there’s none of that anymore,” resident Rodger Lanham said.
A mix of the Washburn Fire and the Pittsburgh Swamp Fire at a disused power plant that ignited over the weekend is pushing air quality to levels considered ‘unhealthy for groups’ sensitive”.
Kaiser Permanente’s head of pulmonology, Dr Tom Dailey, said it was not safe for anyone and “it’s like smoking a quarter pack of cigarettes a day”.
“The real take-home message – inhaling a particular material is not good for anyone,” Dr. Dailey said.
He suggests using an N95 mask outdoors, ensuring windows are closed and limiting exercise.
He also stresses the importance of preparing for the next fire.
“There is no reason to think that unfortunately the 2022-2023 season is going to be the worst of all,” he said. “People have to be prepared.”