The Mercury News

Shift in wind may bring wildfire smoke to Bay Area

Air from fires in north should stay aloft; health effects likely limited

- By George Kelly gkelly@bayareanew­ Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

Smoke drifting southward from fires raging in the state’s north likely will bring hazy skies to North and East Bay residents to close out the week, prompting authoritie­s to issue an air quality advisory for today and Friday.

Data from meteorolog­ists and other sources led Bay Area Air Quality Management District officials to issue the alert Wednesday because of the River Complex, McFarland and Monument fires. Residents in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties may see initial effects earlier, with some Solano, Alameda and Contra Costa residents following on.

“Based on prediction models, we have issued a smoke advisory” instead of a Spare-The-Air alert, air quality district spokespers­on Walter Wallace said Wednesday afternoon. “Because (the smoke is) so high, it doesn’t affect people’s health the same way. It might look bad, but it’s not at ground level.”

Wallace said a staff meteorolog­ist cited expected wind shifts from Wednesday’s westerly pattern to northerly and northweste­rly today and Friday, as well as fire conditions.

Further north, the Dixie fire continued to rage, burning some 275,000 acres in Butte and Plumas counties.

Although the region’s recent stretch of good to moderate air quality may suffer slightly, the smoke is expected to remain aloft.

Residents who suffer from respirator­y issues like asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructiv­e pulmonary disorder are not expected to see substantia­l impacts and are not expected to need to filter air, limit outside activities or travel out of the area.

Residents may track conditions and updates at sparetheai­

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