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Wildfire Smoke Safety


With San Mateo County under a Spare the Air alert from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District due to the presence of wildfire smoke, San Mateo County Health urges residents to limit their time outdoors.

Spare the Air Alerts are issued when ozone or particulate matter pollution is forecast to reach unhealthy levels. Smoke can irritate eyes and airways, causing coughing, a dry scratchy throat, and irritated sinuses. Elevated particulate matter in the air can trigger wheezing in those who suffer from asthma, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Elderly persons, children, and individuals with respiratory illnesses are particularly susceptible to elevated air pollution levels and should take extra precautions to avoid exposure.

In these conditions, residents should take steps to avoid exposure to smoky air:

  • Try to limit outdoor activities and stay inside when possible
  • Bring pets inside
  • Keep windows and doors closed, and set air conditioning and heating systems to recirculate
  • Stay hydrated

Spare the Air alerts also prohibit burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District provides extensive online resources for dealing with wildfire smoke.

Local air quality data is available from