Local air regulators issued a smoke advisory Sunday afternoon, hours after many people in the Bay Area woke up to an orange sky, ash falling to the ground and the smell of smoke in the air.
Winds had pushed smoke and debris from the massive County Fire burning in Yolo and Napa counties into the central Bay Area, causing a flurry of photos on social media and alerts from some local agencies and elected officials.
That was all noticeable early Sunday morning, but the Bay Area Air Quality Management District did not issue a smoke advisory until after 4:30 p.m.
"The advisory came out late just because ... we were on a weekend," BAAQMD spokeswoman Lisa Fasano said.
"We were trying to get our information together, we were answering a lot of media calls, which took up the better part of the day," Fasano said in an interview Monday. "We wanted to make sure that we were sure what the conditions were before we alerted people of the current air quality conditions."
The advisory noted that northerly winds were blowing bands of smoke and ash into the Bay Area and that fog was largely preventing the smoke from reaching the ground. It warned of impacted air quality and advised residents to stay inside until the smoke levels subsided.
That kind of information needs to come faster the next time there's a similar situation, no matter what day of the week, according to Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, a member of the air district's board.
"They should have posted much earlier," Gioia said Monday.
"The fact that it happened on a weekend should not affect the timing of all of this because health impacts occur from the air we breathe on a Friday or a Sunday," Gioia said.
Gioia said he urged Jack Broadbent, the agency's chief executive officer, to tell the public about the smoke Sunday morning.
"It's important for the public to get this information as soon as possible," Gioia said. "People were wondering where was the smoke and ash coming from and what does it mean for their health."