Update Tuesday, 10:50 a.m.: The interactive, crowdsourced air quality map called Purple Air shows orange levels today throughout San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. This means all active adults and children, and people with respiratory problems should limit outdoor exertion.
Air quality deteriorates to red, or "unhealthy" levels in Richmond, Vallejo, and the North Bay up through Novato. This means everyone, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor activity, and active children and adults as well as people who have respiratory problems should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion.
North of Cotati and closer to the Kincade Fire, the air quality continues to deteriorate to "hazardous" levels. In these conditions, health officials encourage people to avoid all outdoor activity and warn that the anyone's health can be affected.
Update Monday, 9:55 a.m.: The air over Berkeley smells like an ashtray this morning, as winds died off and stopped pushing smoke out of the region. The interactive, crowdsourced air quality map called Purple Air shows red, "unhealthy" levels of ash and soot throughout Berkeley and north past Richmond and San Pablo all the way to the Carquinez Bridge. This means everyone, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor activity, and active children and adults as well as people who have respiratory problems should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion. Health officials recommend staying indoors with windows and doors closed.
Across the Carquinez Bridge, air quality drops into the "very unhealthy" and "hazardous" levels. When the air is "very unhealthy," officials say everyone, especially children, should limit outdoor activity, and active children and adults as well as people who have respiratory problems should avoid all outdoor exertion. "Hazardous" levels of soot and ash create a healthy emergency for everyone.
In much of Oakland, Purple Air sensors show air quality in the orange, meaning it's unhealthy for sensitive people. This means all active adults and children, and people with respiratory problems should limit outdoor activity. Scattered parts of East Oakland are showing slightly better air quality, at yellow levels. However, to know where these areas are, you'd need to check the Purple Air map. The Bay Area Air Quality management district's sensor at Laney College is showing yellow levels of particulates.
Purple Air sensors in much of San Francisco are showing yellow levels, meaning people with particularly sensitive respiratory systems should consider limiting outdoor activity. In downtown San Francisco, however, sensors are showing slightly worse air quality, with orange levels.
Update Sunday, 10:50 a.m.: A map loop on the government website Air Now shows the overnight story -- yellow and orange followed by red and purple. That is, air quality that's moderate or unhealthy for sensitive groups deteriorating into very unhealthy air as smoke from the Kincade Fire moves in on strong winds.
By Area air quality officials say those same winds, though, are already turning things around by moving smoke out of the region. Current readings for tiny particulate matter, the dusty smoke and feathery ash that cause the most health problems, are "good" to "moderate." Moderate means very sensitive people should consider limiting outdoor activity.
Air quality in the eastern part of California, though, is poor. In Davis and Sacramento, air quality is "unhealthy for sensitive groups," and people are advised to stay indoors and limit outdoor activity. In Fresno and Modesto, air quality is in the most dangerous "hazardous" category, which can affect everyone.
The interactive, crowdsourced air quality map called Purple Air shows a wide range of air quality conditions across the Bay Area, from "good" to "unhealthy."
Update Saturday, 10 a.m.: An interactive, crowdsourced air quality map indicates "moderate" to "unhealthy" conditions over a large swath of the Bay Area. The least healthy air readings, visible as orange on the map, are near the origin of the fire - Healdsburg and Cloverdale in Sonoma County, where people with respiratory issues along with active adults and children should limit their exertion outdoors.
Throughout the northern, central and eastern Bay Area, air quality conditions are "moderate." That reading means people with unusual sensitivity to air quality should limit their outdoor activities.
The maps are based on reports of fine, often microscopic, particulates in the air - the ash, soot and other materials in the smoke from the Kincade Fire that's spreading as far south as Santa Clara County. Prolonged exposure to these particles can damage the heart and lungs. so it's important to avoid breathing outdoor air as much as possible. Here's some information about ways to stay safe.
Update Friday, 12:05 p.m.: “Moderate” air quality conditions spread through the Bay Area Friday morning. As of 11 a.m., the current recommendation from air quality officials is that "unusually sensitive people should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion."
At a San Francisco press conference Friday morning, Jarrett Claiborne, an air quality meteorologist with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), said air quality is expected to deteriorate throughout Friday afternoon.
Claiborne says Thursday afternoon, winds that were pushing smoke from the Kincade Fire toward the Pacific Ocean relaxed, while winds from the North picked up.
“So what that means for us is the winds came from the North to the South, and now that plume of smoke is tracking toward the Bay Area as we speak,” he said.
Claiborne forecasts air quality in the Bay Area will reach levels “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” That appears orange on air quality maps later Friday afternoon and into Saturday.
This means active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit their activities outdoors.
Air quality officials say that while smoke is one concern for Bay Area residents this weekend, compounding that is heat. Temperatures in the high 80s are expected Bay-wide.
“Normally when we have air quality issues, we tell people to stay indoors with their windows and doors closed. But that may not be an option for some if heat is an issue in their home,” said Kristine Roselius, spokesperson for BAAQMD.
“We’re recommending people seek out cooling centers or places that have filtered air such as libraries, movie theaters or malls.”
Roselius says winds forecast for later this weekend are expected to blow fire-related pollution out of the Bay Area.