For the second time this season, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is calling on Bay Area residents to Spare the Air tonight and refrain from lighting a fire or using any other wood-burning appliances.
Air quality levels tonight with respect to particulate matter are very high and in some pockets of the Bay Area will exceed 100 on the air quality index, something highly unusual, according to BAAQMD chairman Mark Ross.
"We do get high levels above 85 and 90 about 30 days a year in the winter but to exceed 100 is an unusual event," said Ross.
A good score on the air quality index would fall somewhere between zero and 50 and moderate levels of particulate matter would fall between 50 and 100, a typical Bay Area index level. Exceeding 100 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as active children or people with respiratory diseases, according to the BAAQMD.
A weather pattern of very still air has produced a situation where the particulate matter has stood still without a weather system to blow it out, according to Ross.
"We are saturated with soot at this point and will reach the point that is unhealthy for those with impaired lung capacity and asthma," he said. "Cardiac issues can also arise from part of the matter passing into the blood stream."