As excessive heat and smoky air continue to bear down in the region, Palo Alto has opened a cooling center in the El Palo Alto Room at Mitchell Park Community Center for residents who need shelter from the heat. The center will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through this Friday, according to a Sept. 7 announcement from the Palo Alto Police Department.
The heat wave, which pushed the temperature in Palo Alto to 108 degrees on Sunday, according to The Weather Channel, is expected to continue through the coming week, and the National Weather Service has announced a Red Flag warning through Wednesday morning due to possible wind and other weather conditions. Smoky conditions from multiple wildfires burning throughout the state also are expected to remain for at least the next few days.
The murky haze of smoke and smog over the Bay Area is expected to linger for at least two more days and a Spare the Air alert has been extended through Wednesday, air district officials said Monday.
A record-breaking streak of Spare the Air alerts for the region is in its fourth week, with Tuesday and Wednesday the 22nd and 23rd consecutive days.
"The Labor Day weekend heat wave, combined with tailpipe exhaust and lingering wildfire smoke, is expected to cause unhealthy air quality in the region," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
The air district urges residents to drive less and stay indoors to protect their health during smoggy and smoky days.
On Tuesday, light winds along with scorching inland temperatures and car exhaust are predicted to cause unhealthy smog, or ozone, accumulation in the Bay Area.
Through Wednesday, smoke from the Woodward Fire in Marin County and the August Complex in Mendocino County are expected to bring isolated areas of unhealthy air to areas of the North Bay, San Francisco, portions of the East Bay and potentially Vallejo.
It is illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices during a Spare the Air Alert for particulate pollution.
Smoke can irritate eyes and airways, causing coughing, a dry scratchy throat and irritated sinuses. Elevated particulate matter in the air can trigger wheezing in those who suffer from asthma, emphysema or COPD. Elderly persons, children and individuals with respiratory illnesses are particularly susceptible to elevated air pollution levels and should take extra precautions to avoid exposure.
Ozone, or smog, can cause throat irritation, congestion, chest pain, trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen bronchitis and emphysema. Long-term exposure to ozone can reduce lung function. Ozone pollution is particularly harmful for young children, seniors and those with respiratory and heart conditions. When a Spare the Air Alert is issued, outdoor exercise should be done only in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.
People can find out when a Spare the Air alert is in effect by visiting sparetheair.org, calling 800-HELP-AIR (4357-247), downloading the Spare the Air smartphone app for iPhone or Android devices or connecting with Spare the Air on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.