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Solano County Fire Spreads Smoke, Prompts Health Alert for Bay Area

| October 4, 2013
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Heavy smoke as seen Friday afternoon in San Francisco. The source of the plume is a wind-driven wildfire in Solano County (David He via Berkeleyside).

Heavy smoke as seen Friday afternoon in San Francisco. The source of the plume: a wind-driven wildfire in Solano County (David He via Berkeleyside).

Bay Area air officials have issued a smoke advisory because of a large grass fire burning near the Solano County town of Suisun City, about 40 miles northeast of downtown San Francisco. Cal Fire says the blaze, which has been dubbed the Branscombe Fire, has consumed about 1,000 acres and is 70 percent contained. Residents throughout the Bay Area are reporting heavy smoke in the air — a repeat of last night’s experience when a wind-driven fire near Lake Berryessa in Napa County spread a plume of smoke over the region.

Check current air quality through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District or Spare the Air. Cal Fire is assisting with the Branscombe fire, and is posting containment updates on Twitter. KGO is also following the fire.

Here’s a view tweeted by KCBS:

The heavy smoke prompted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to advise residents throughout the region to take precautions:

  • Reduce exposure to smoky air by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed
  • Set air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate
  • If air smells of smoke, limit outdoor activities to avoid unnecessary exposure
  • If you have asthma or other lung disease, make sure you follow your doctor’s directions about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
  • If you have heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children, talk with your doctor about whether and when you should leave the area.

The Solano County fire broke out as the Bay Area continues under a National Weather Service Red Flag Warning. High winds, low humidity and extremely dry vegetation have created a critical fire risk for most of the region from the northern Sacramento Valley down to the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Here’s the latest Bay City News summary on the Solano County blaze:

At least one structure has been destroyed by the fire, and around five to 10 others were threatened.

The fire, which is being driven south by strong winds, triggered evacuations and road closures in the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area, according to Dixon Fire Chief Aaron McAlister.

Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said the large fire is one of several in the North Bay being fanned by strong winds today.

The hot, dry windy conditions have triggered red flag warnings in the area.

“This fire is evidence of what these gusty offshore winds can do and why it’s so important everyone be careful out there today,” Berlant said.

The fire has caused reports of smoke throughout the East Bay and even as far away as San Francisco and the Peninsula.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District this afternoon issued a smoke advisory warning Bay Area residents, especially those with asthma and other respiratory issues, to stay inside with the windows and doors closed as much as possible.

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Category: Environment, Fire, Science

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About the Author ()

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.
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