SAN JOSE — As firefighters enter their eighth day battling the Camp Fire in Butte County, air quality in the South Bay on Thursday morning registered at “unhealthy” levels, matching conditions across most of the Bay Area.
Thursday at 5 a.m., air quality levels across the majority of the Bay Area, including San Jose, registered as “unhealthy” by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. According to the Air Quality Index, pollution levels between 150 and 200 are classified as “unhealthy” and serious enough that healthy people will suffer some ill effects from breathing the air.
Much of the North and East Bay has been rated between 150 and 200 since Friday. Much of the South Bay, and a small number of locations in the North Bay, were rated below that range, but still registered as “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” meaning children and people with underlying respiratory conditions, such as asthma and COPD, are vulnerable to getting sick by prolonged exposure to the air.
Wednesday afternoon, air quality was noticeably worse in San Jose. Late Wednesday night, San Jose State University announced it was cancelling classes Thursday and Friday.
Air quality around Livermore registered as “very unhealthy,” according to the index.
The air quality management district has extended its Winter Spare the Air Alert through Friday, meaning burning wood, including manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, indoors or outdoors, is banned.
“Our hearts go out to the residents of Butte County as the Camp Fire continues to rage on,” Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air District, said in a release. “Unfortunately, smoke from the fire continues to blanket all nine counties of the Bay Area, which is why we have called the mandatory Winter Spare the Air Alert through Friday.
“Any additional smoke from Bay Area chimneys could push the region into an even higher unhealthy air quality level, which puts us all in jeopardy.”
The National Weather Service is not predicting any significant improvement in air quality until next week, when a series of storms could bring much-needed rain to Northern California and help wash out pollution in the air.
Air quality in South Bay worsens, “unhealthy” levels throughout Bay Area