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San Francisco air quality remains ‘unhealthy’ at red

Residents urged to stay indoors and limit physical exertion

The Transamerica Pyramid obscured by smoke and haze from wildfires.
Photo by AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Update: As of 7 p.m., the San Francisco AQI number is at 143.

After Friday’s record-breaking air quality levels in San Francisco—the SF’s Air Quality Index [AQI] jumped to 271, the worst in the state’s recorded history—Saturday’s level dipped to a slightly better number at 179 as of 9 a.m.

While this reprieve is most welcome, residents should still limit their time outside. Denizens are also encouraged to wear N95 face masks while outdoors.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.”

Many events that were supposed to take place this weekend have been canceled due to the poor air quality, like march on Sunday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Jonestown. There also will be no Cable Car service this weekend. Bus shuttles will provide service on the Powell-Hyde, Powell-Mason, and California lines.

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

EPA forecasts lower AQI numbers for late Saturday and Sunday, but dire weather conditions will remain in place until at least Tuesday.

According to SFGate, “The current weather pattern is going to hold through Tuesday, and on Wednesday a storm in the forecast is expected to finally bring relief from the eye-stinging polluted air.”

San Francisco residents can visit any number of public and private spaces open today with filtered air, like the San Francisco Main Library (100 Larkin Street), Westfield San Francisco Centre (865 Market Street), Stonestown Galleria (3251 20th Avenue), and SFMOMA (151 3rd Street).

As of Saturday morning the Camp Fire in Butte County torched approximately 148,000 acres. The blaze is at 55 percent containment.

The death toll has risen to 71 and the list of missing persons grew to 1,011.