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Smoke but no fire – locally, at least

A smoke haze engulfed the city and surrounding areas this week as prevailing winds from the north, coupled with a burn-off at Shell Martinez Refinery, effected air quality. (GERARDO RECINOS / Martinez Tribune)
A smoke haze engulfed the city and surrounding areas this week as prevailing winds from the north, coupled with a burn-off at Shell Martinez Refinery, effected air quality. (GERARDO RECINOS / Martinez Tribune)
By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Residents and visitors in Martinez and surrounding areas may have noticed a grey curtain partially obscuring sunny skies this past week.

After a weekend where daytime temperatures soared in the high 90s and even touched triple digits on more than one occasion, only the lingering haze in the air blemished an otherwise perfect visage.

According to representatives at the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (CCCFPD), many East Bay residents have been calling with concerns about hazy conditions in the area. However, as of the Tribune’s Thursday deadline, CCCFPD said they’ve only had to put out one small vegetation fire near the I-680 North onramp in Martinez.

Fires in the northern part of the state, coupled with a recent Shell Martinez Refinery flare and prevailing winds from the north, are bringing smoke into the area.

Currently there are no Spare the Air days scheduled in the Bay Area, with air quality deemed to be in the “good” range, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air Quality Index (AQI).

Only on Wednesday, Aug. 19, did the AQI fall into the moderate range, where air quality was deemed dangerous for the “unusually sensitive.”

According to the EPA, those with asthma and other conditions should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion until skies are clearer.

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