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San Francisco toxic air quality ‘very unhealthy’ today [Updated]

Best to stay indoors

The skyline obscured by smoke and haze from wildfires in San Francisco as a tour boat makes its way along the waterfront.
Photo by AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Update: Air quality in San Francisco and across the Bay Area worsens. AQI score for SF as of 4 p.m. is at 271, which jumped from 263 at 2 p.m.


Following Thursday’s abysmal air quality in the Bay Area, brought on by the Camp Fire still roaring in Butte County, air quality in San Francisco will be worse today.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s [EPA] AIRNow recorded air toxicity levels Friday morning with a score of 221 on its 500-point Air Quality Index [AQI]. This score is worse than Thursday’s number, which started out at 177 and ended at 211.

San Francisco remains in the purple color-coded range—i.e., “very unhealthy”—which also extends to parts of the Peninsula and Marin County. People with heart or lung disease, elderly people, and children should avoid physical activity and stay indoors. However, it’s recommended that everybody try to stay indoors if possible.

According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District:

The AQI numbers refer to specific amounts of pollution in the air. It’s based on the federal air quality standards for six major pollutants - ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and two sizes of particulate matter.

[...] Readings below 100 on the AQI scale should not affect the health of the general public (although readings in the moderate range of 50 to 100 may affect unusually sensitive people).

Levels above 300 rarely occur in the United States, and readings above 200 have not occurred in the Bay Area in decades.

Most Bay Area schools have closed for the day until further notice, including SFSU, USF, CCSF, and more. Here’s a list of school closures affecting the entire Bay Area.

Officials also recommend using N95 respirator masks, which can be found at one of these locations. (Please call ahead to make sure masks are in stock.)

The day’s forecast notes that conditions will slightly improve in the East Bay, which is hovering in the red at “unhealthy,” around San Jose, but worsen around the Santa Rosa area as the day progresses.

AQI as of Friday at 6 a.m.

An aerial shot of today’s smoke: