Air Quality Alert for Bay Area

A Google map with various colored dots in Oakland showing the air quality is bad.
Screenshot of a map from Purple Air around noon on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

Alameda County has issued an air quality alert due to the multiple fires in California. By now, you may already smell smoke and see ashes around. People are advised to stay indoors if possible, particularly more vulnerable populations:

Children, older adults and those w/ breathing or heart issues should limit outdoor activities. Go to for info, and for tips.”

Here’s how to check the air quality:

1. ) Bay Area Air Quality Management District – click on “Fine Particulate Matter.” Oakland is under “Coast & Central Bay.” In Oakland, the locations are West Oakland, East Oakland, and Laney College. For example, at this time, the air quality for both Laney College and East Oakland are in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range.

2.) Purple Air – this is another website that shows air quality. Right now, there are parts of Oakland that are above the 200 range.

3.) AirNow Fire and Smoke Map – the map shows air quality, air flow, plus where the actual fires are.

The air quality here is expected to be worse tomorrow, on August 20. N95 masks help prevent particulate inhalation. However, the ones with valves do not prevent the spread of COVID-19.

About Momo Chang

Momo Chang is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Oakland Voices Alumni Coordinator. Her work focuses on healthcare, immigration, education, Asian American communities, food and culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Momo has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting and the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. Her work has appeared in the East Bay Express, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and The New York Times. Momo is primarily a print journalist who also produces audio and visual stories for documentary film and radio. She is a Senior Contributing Editor for Hyphen and formerly the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). View all posts by Momo Chang →

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