People told to reduce driving as pollution worsens

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Officials asked people to reduce driving to help minimize air pollution as some inland areas record nearly triple digits on mercury and smoky skies forecast for Labor Day.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has extended a Spare the Air alert through Monday as the toxic smoke from vehicles, wildfire, as well as from scorching inland temperatures is anticipated to continue blanketing the region.

“Limiting driving this holiday weekend can help reduce the buildup of harmful smog pollution,” senior deputy executive officer of air quality district, Veronica Eady, said through a statement. “We must all remain vigilant to protect our health and the health of our communities.”

On Sunday, air quality levels were recorded at moderate to harmful for the majority of the Bay Area region.

Based on the Chronicle’s California Air Quality Map tracker, an orange level, which can be harmful for people, is recorded in Oakland, Palo Alto, San Rafael, and San Francisco. “Moderate” air quality, meanwhile, was noted in inland areas like Pleasanton and Walnut Creek.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District spokesperson Aaron Richardson said that the extension of the Spare the Air alert this week is “very possible” if the temperatures in the high inland areas continue.

According to the National Weather Service meteorologist Brayden Murdock, the warmest temperature for the week is expected Sunday and Monday, with an increased pressure squeezing the marine layers.

The heat on Monday is expected to affect the inland areas including concord and Pleasanton which are forecast to experience up to 98 degrees temperature, while Walnut Creek could register as high as 99.

Meanwhile, cloudy skies are expected in coastal cities. Oakland is expected to reach 77, San Francisco with 74, Half Moon Bay with 70, and Sausalito with 68, as reported by San Francisco Chronicle.

 “As we go into the midweek, that’s where things start to cool off,” Murdock said.