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.

Solano County Fire Spreads Smoke, Prompts Health Alert for Bay Area 25 April,2014Dan Brekke

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Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area’s transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED’s comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

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