Smoke triggers air quality advisory today

Animated map of air quality

"We are also seeing elevated levels in San Francisco and Redwood City", says Fasano. Unfortunately neither a hospital mask or a bandanna tied over the face prevents noxious air from entering the lungs, and to make much of a difference, even N-95 masks must fit well. The area's homeless - who have no choice but to be outside - break out regularly into spates of coughing. He said conditions will persist - and may worsen - through the weekend. Parents and school administrators should check air quality readings before allowing children to practice outdoor sports, according to the air district. It is classified as "unhealthy" and is a level 4 out of 6, with 1 being "good" and 6 being "hazardous".

San Joaquin Valley air pollution officials have issued an air quality alert that extends into Saturday.

Air quality managers said the Bay Area has had poor air quality days before because of wildfires but this is unprecedented because of the amount of fires concentrated in one location. Where conditions warrant, people with heart or lung disease should follow their doctors' advice for dealing with episodes of particulate exposure.

In and around wine country in Santa Rosa and Napa Valley, strong, dry winds helped unite what began as a string of separate fires, pulling the blazes across swaths of fields and freeways.

"A lot of people are going up to help the fire, a lot of people are going to volunteer a lot of people walking in the area and they need something to help them breathe", said Brian Altwarg of Markus Supply Ace Hardware Store. More than 200 people have been reported missing.

The dramatic Canyon Fire 2 fight means smoke is visible for miles, and it's something Jo Kay Ghosh is monitoring closely at the South Coast Air Quality Management District office in Diamond Bar.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Air Quality (AQI) described San Francisco air as "unhealthy for sensitive groups" as shown through the orange parts of the map.

These tiny particles are about 3 percent of the diameter of a human hair, which makes them even more unsafe because they can be inhaled into the lungs and bypass the body's filtration systems, slipping directly into the bloodstream.

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