County of Marin - News Releases - Air Quality Advisory

For Immediate Release
September 19, 2023

Drifting Smoke Impacting Marin Air Quality

Marin County Public Health offering tips for vulnerable residents.

San Rafael, CA – Marin Public Health officials are urging community members to take precautions by limiting outdoor activity due to the poor air quality caused by drift smoke from wildfire events throughout Northern California and Oregon.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued an air quality advisory for wildfire smoke through Wednesday, September 20. Smoke levels in the Bay Area are expected to reach the high-moderate tier on the EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI). Smoky, hazy skies are visible, and the smell of smoke is possible. National Weather Services forecasts onshore winds starting tonight that may bring relief.

Those most at risk include individuals with chronic lung conditions such as emphysema and asthma.

Take these steps to avoid or reduce smoke exposure:

  1. Stay Informed: Follow HHS Wildfire Air Quality recommendations along with AirNow’s Air Quality Index. When the AQI is 150 or greater, it’s time to take special precautions. 
  1. Limit Outdoor Activities: Stay indoors when possible, to minimize your exposure to heavy smoke.
  1. Create a Clean Environment
    • Close windows and doors.
    • Use a CARB-certified air cleaner.
    • Run home and car air conditioning on recirculate mode.
    • Avoid vacuuming, frying food, or using gas-powered appliances.
  1. Use a Mask: If outdoor activity is unavoidable when air quality is poor, N95 masks are recommended. Cloth or paper masks are not effective against wildfire smoke.
  1. Sign up for Alerts: Stay “air aware” by signing up with Nixle, AlertMarin, and PG&E

In addition, some local programing and services may be impacted by smokey conditions: 

  • Marin County Office of Education has cautioned school districts to consider cancelling or postponing student athletic events until air quality improves.
  • Marin County Free Library branches in Stinson Beach and Corte Madera closed early on September 19 due to poor air quality in those areas.

Monitor the Marin County Public Emergency Portal for updated information.


Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Matthew Willis
Marin HHS website