October 12, 2017– Livermore, CA – The entire 9-County Bay Area region is suffering through the harshest, most smoke-polluted air historically recorded this week, as the North Bay Wine Country wildfires continue to devastate. Air quality measurements lingering at dangerous levels have residents remaining indoors, closing schools and community centers, and forcing the cancellation of airline flights, weekend festivals and sporting events.
A Commissioner of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, representing District 1, announced that he will be stationed at Lizzie Fountain on First Street at the corner of Livermore Avenue, in downtown Livermore on Sunday, October 15, 2017, giving away N95 respirator masks free to the public. “I’m glad to be able to bring this public service to the people of the Tri-Valley,” Supervisor Haggerty said. “Thanks to the [Bay Area] Air [Quality Management] District, we have over 600 masks to give away. We will be out there from 11:00am until they are gone”.
The Air District on Thursday extended its smoke health advisory for the region through the weekend, the first time in its history that it has issued such a long advisory. Smoke concentrations in the North Bay on Monday and Tuesday soared to the highest levels the Air District has ever has recorded.
Although the Air District encourages people going outdoors to use N95 respirator masks to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the negative air quality, they also caution that the masks should not be considered a fail-safe substitute for staying indoors in filtered air.
“Air quality is at unhealthy levels throughout the Bay Area, particularly for those who already suffer from breathing conditions” said Supervisor Haggerty. “The Air District advises residents to stay indoors, keeping doors and windows closed. But, if people must be outside, wearing one of these respirator masks will markedly help in breathing and keeping harmful pollutants out.”