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Air district issues alert, cities offer services through holiday weekend heat wave

Amid a forecast for poor air quality in parts of the Bay Area and a statewide call for power conservation during a predicted heat wave, many outdoor spots where Bay Area residents usually let off steam on Labor Day weekend will be closed, and cities are scrambling to keep vulnerable residents safe.

California’s Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power grid, asked residents to take measures such as limiting their use of major appliances and setting air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees in order to conserve energy from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a Spare the Air Alert for Friday and Saturday, which makes it illegal to burn wood or wood products. The district says the Santa Clara Valley and parts of the North Bay could have unhealthy air through Monday. More information is available on the BAAQMD site.

The Pt. Reyes National Seashore will be closed, and visitors are asked to stay away from the entire area, though some portions may be open.

Many beaches along coasts in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties will also be closed, including those in Pacifica, Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz and the city of Monterey. Traffic in some coastal areas is likely to be snarled with some restrictions still in force as a result of recent wildfires.

Monterey County officials issued an advisory Wednesday for Monterey Municipal Beach, where they said elevated bacteria levels have exceeded health guidelines. The statement advises the public not to come in contact with ocean water, but says other beaches are open without restriction.

Though many East Bay Regional Parks will be open, the district warned in a statement Thursday that air quality is likely to be poor. Most typical Labor Day activities, including picnicking, barbecuing, boating and swimming, will not be permitted.

Mass transit agencies, including Caltrain and BART, will follow a Sunday schedule on the Monday holiday. More information is available on Caltrain’s website. BART, which now closes at 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, will also follow its Sunday schedule on Labor Day. More information is posted at

Cities across the Bay Area plan to open cooling centers for residents to find daytime respite from the weekend’s most intense heat. All cooling centers will enforce Covid-19 prevention measures, including face covering requirements. Food will only be permitted in some locations and most will not allow pets.

The most accurate information will be available on each city’s website.

In Santa Clara County, cooling centers will be open in Cupertino, San Jose, Morgan Hill and Mountain View Saturday through Monday, or on just Sunday and Monday, depending on the center. More information is posted online.

In Concord, where temperatures are expected to top 100 from Saturday through Tuesday and could hit 109 on Sunday, a cooling center will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday at the Concord Senior Center located at 2727 Parkside Circle. Residents are advised to bring a snack and drinking water.

Santa Rosa residents can cool off between 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday at the Steele Lane Community Center located at 415 Steele Lane. Food and pets will not be permitted.

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