File photo of traffic on I-12

Unhealthy levels of ozone are expected Friday and Saturday in Baton Rouge, DEQ said. Officials said people can help lower levels by driving less and waiting until after 6 p.m. to refuel their vehicles. 

Unhealthy air quality is expected in metro Baton Rouge on Friday and Saturday, officials said.

An air quality alert is in effect Friday from 7 a.m. to midnight, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality said.

The air quality as of 7 a.m. was moderate in Baton Rouge, DEQ said, due to high particle pollution.

Friday afternoon, high ozone levels are forecast in the metro area. The high levels will be unhealthy for "sensitive groups," such as active children and adults (outside more than 6 hours), the elderly and people with respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Those groups should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion, DEQ said. Everyone else should enjoy their outdoor activities, officials said.

The alert is for the following parishes:

  • East Baton Rouge
  • West Baton Rouge
  • Ascension
  • Livingston
  • Pointe Coupee
  • Iberville

People are encouraged to take voluntary steps to reduce emissions that contribute to ozone formation. Suggestions include:

- Drive less and make sure your vehicle is in good, working condition.

- Make sure your gas cap is tight.

- Wait until after 6 p.m. to refuel your vehicle.

- Wait until after 6 p.m. to use gas-powered lawn equipment.

Read more about air quality in Baton Rouge.