If you thought the skies were a little hazy and the air quality was going downhill, you had the right idea.
The Aspen Fire burning in the Sierra Nevada east of Merced and other fires burning in northern California and Oregon have prompted local air officials to issue a health cautionary statement for smoke impacts in the entire Valley air basin. This includes Kern, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare counties as well as the foothill and mountain areas.
Air quality in the Valley is expected to deteriorate in the coming days due to smoke impacts and a relatively stable weather pattern.
The caution is in place until the fires are extinguished.
Smoke from fires produces fine-particulate matter (PM2.5), which can cause serious health problems including lung disease, asthma attacks and increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. Where conditions warrant, people with heart or lung disease should follow their doctors' advice for dealing with episodes of particulate exposure. Additionally, older adults and children should avoid prolonged exposure or heavy exertion, depending on their local conditions.
Residents can check the nearest air monitor to their location to determine localized air-quality conditions. Visit the Real-time Air Advisory Network page on the District's website to subscribe for free: http://www.valleyair.org/Programs/RAAN/raan_landing.htm. They can also receive updated fire information at: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3552/.
For more information, visit www.valleyair.org or call a District office in Fresno (559-230-6000), Modesto (209-557-6400) or Bakersfield (661-381-1809).