Doctor: Stay inside when conditions are smoky

Residents should also limit wood burning, lawn mowing

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — The massive cluster of wildfires in Napa County has so far clawed its way through nearly 192,000 acres, destroyed some 5,700 homes and businesses and killed 34 people.

But it has also spewed smoke throughout the Bay Area, as far away as Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.

When the air gets smoky, Dominican Hospital Emergency Department Director Greg Whitley said that residents should limit their outdoor activities as much as possible.

"Staying indoors as much as possible is the best practice," he said. "Many local youth sporting events have been canceled. If your child has upcoming sporting events that haven’t already been canceled, consider keeping them home. It’s important to avoid strenuous exertion outside right now."

Those most at risk include people with asthma or chronic lung disease, as well as young children, Whitley said.

While nobody has gone to Dominican to be treated for smoke inhalation, Whitley said that residents should watch for symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain and severe coughing. 

"Anyone exhibiting these symptoms should go to the closest medical care provider, such as an urgent care or emergency department," he said.

The Monterey Bay Air Resources District on Wednesday asked residents to avoid adding more pollution to the air by limiting activities such as wood burning, driving, lawn mowing and leaf blowing.

This includes wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves — even candles.

For updates on the current air quality, visit For information about the health effects of wildfire smoke, visit

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