Smoke from a massive Sonoma County wildfire was blanketing the Bay Area region on Friday, raising air pollution levels and prompting officials to issue an advisory warning of unhealthful conditions.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which monitors elevated levels of particle pollution, urged people from the North Bay to the Santa Clara Valley to limit their exposure to the smoke. The most sensitive groups include the elderly, children and people with respiratory diseases.
The Kincade fire in northern Sonoma County has burned 21,900 acres and by Friday afternoon was only 5% contained, officials said. The smog and smoke from the fire can irritate eyes and airways, cause coughing and dry throat and irritate sinuses.
“It is important that residents protect their health and avoid smoke exposure by staying indoors, if heat is not an issue,” said Jack Broadbent, chief executive of the Bay Area agency, in an advisory. “If temperatures are too hot indoors, visit an air-cooling center or other facility, such as a library or other public building that has filtered air.”
On Thursday, the National Weather Service anticipated that the fire would affect air quality and published a smoke forecast model showing the fire’s smoke changing direction to the south. By Friday afternoon, the smoke was expected to envelop all of the Bay Area.