Local schools remain open as smoky skies persist in Valley

North Bay fires rage on, local responders join control and support efforts

Air quality remains poor throughout the San Ramon Valley due to smoke from the extreme wildfires burning through Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties, and a health advisory, spare the air alert and red flag warning remained in effect Thursday, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

While all San Ramon Valley Unified School District campuses remained open Thursday -- with certain precautions taken -- district officials decided around mid-day that all after-school outdoor activities and athletics would be canceled. Indoor activities and sports like volleyball, however, would still take place.

SRVUSD schools will remain open on Friday, with precautions in place to keep students indoors if necessary and to protect those with respiratory considerations. A decision on after-school athletics Friday and the weekend, including homecoming activities at San Ramon Valley and California high schools, has not been announced but is due by 9 a.m. Friday.

Precautions implemented at schools Thursday included no outdoor PE classes, lunches held indoors, shutting all windows and doors and special considerations for students with respiratory conditions or otherwise impacted by poor air quality.

The satellite campus of Diablo Valley College in the Dougherty Valley was closed on Thursday due to poor air quality, but will reopen Friday, though outdoor sport activities will continue to be limited until further notice.

As of Thursday, the fire count across California stands at 21 -- one less than on Wednesday because two fires merged. Since they started on Sunday, the wildfires have killed 26 people, destroyed thousands of structures and burned almost 200,000 acres state-wide, according to emergency officials.

Specifically in the Bay Area, the fires raging through Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties are responsible for 16 deaths and the most any of these fire has been contained is 10%.

"We are a long way from being done with this catastrophe," Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said.

Over 8,000 firefighters have been deployed on the fire lines and around 640 law enforcement offers have been assisting with other needs like shelter security and asking people to evacuate -- these numbers include local responders.

According to fire chief Paige Meyers, the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District has dispatched two engines, two safety officers, a communications support unit, and ambulance task force with its task force leader and a director from the fire board who, as a veterinarian, is providing emergency medical animal care.

"We're well-represented in trying to make a devastating situation better," Meyer said at the San Ramon City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Since Sunday night, the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office has been sending deputy sheriffs to the fire, including a handful of Danville police officers, according to the sheriff's office. For each shift -- day and night -- they've been sending over about 10 deputies, one sergeant and one lieutenant.

"We will continue to do all we can to assist our fellow law enforcement agencies and first responders in Sonoma, Napa and Solano Counties as they deal with these devastating fires," said Sheriff David O. Livingston.

The San Ramon Police Department has also dispatched officers -- two officers up every 12 hours since Monday evening, for a total of four officers per day, said Capt. Denton Carlson. According to Twitter, SRPD will be holding a "Stuff the Cruiser" event at the Target in San Ramon Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon, accepting donations for families affected by the North Bay fires.

Editor's note: Information from the Bay City News Service was used in this report.


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