HANFORD — When it comes to the heat and the bad air quality accompanying it, there’s no relief in sight, authorities say.
Smoke and debris from the Carr and Ferguson fires have prompted The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to issue a Valley-wide health caution.
“The Carr Fire exploded overnight and smoke will be making its way toward the Valley,” Valley Air Pollution Control District outreach and communications representative Cassandra Melching said.
The air pollution, coupled with the extreme heat in the Valley is a potentially dangerous mixture, she said.
“It’s a double whammy. These are two big fires and all that stuff will be headed our way. It’s a little disheartening,” she said.
Mariposa County’s Ferguson Fire and the Carr Fire near Redding are both nearly 45,000 acres in size and are only about 29 and 3 percent contained, respectively. Air quality will be affected until the fires are extinguished.
Smoke from wildfires produces particulate matter which can trigger asthma attacks, aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. People with respiratory conditions, children and the elderly are especially susceptible to bad air conditions.
And while smoke and pollution will eventually make its way to the Valley floor, it’s not easy to say when, Melching said, and mostly depends on winds and weather patterns.
If and when the Valley is hit with microscopic PM2.5 particles, Melching said it is advised that people stay inside and limit their activity outdoors.
“If you smell smoke or see ash, treat that as a Level 4 [and stay inside]” she said.
Extreme heat continues to oppress the Valley as the National Weather Service has extended its Excessive Heat Warning until 9 p.m. Sunday. The warning was originally expected to end Thursday evening, but high temperatures are expected to continue, with highs staying in the triple digits throughout the upcoming week.
Friday, Fresno broke its record for consecutive days with triple-digit temperatures with 21 in a row. The previous record was set in 2005.
“The significance of this is that Fresno is one of the two official climate stations in the South Valley,” said WeatherAg chief meteorologist Scott Borgioli in a release. WeatherAg is a Visalia-based weather service.
Residents are encouraged to stay up-to-date with the District’s Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) by visiting www.myraan.com, which provides localized air quality data.