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Santa Clara County Air Quality

Updated December 17, 2013

Due to a fire at Sims Metal Management in Redwood City, residents from various areas throughout Santa Clara County have reported smelling fumes, which are strong in many areas. Some people in various regions of Santa Clara County may also be smelling smoke from yesterday’s fire in Big Sur. In addition, a “Spare the Air” alert remains in effect for all over the Bay Area.

  • The Public Health Department is advising people to stay indoors if possible, and to restrict activity outdoors while the air quality is poor.
  • People may experience irritation of the lungs or eyes, coughing, a scratchy throat, and irritated sinuses, particularly people who are at high risk.
  • Individuals most at risk include children, seniors and those with respiratory problems.
  • If you develop chest tightness or pain, wheezing, or difficulty breathing, call 911  immediately.
  • Other steps people can take to reduce respiratory problems include setting air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate, and if the air smells of fumes or smoke, limit your 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.


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Our mission is to prevent disease and injury and create environments that promote and protect the community's health.