HANFORD —The Camp Fire burning in Butte County and several fires in Tulare County have prompted local air officials to issue a health caution for smoke impacts throughout the San Joaquin Valley.
The health caution will remain in place and smoke impacts are likely until the fires are extinguished. Officials said the public may experience poor air quality and should take action to protect their health.
Due to these smoke impacts and the potential for deteriorating air quality, a “Check before you burn: no burning unless registered” wood-burning curtailment is in effect today in Kings, Tulare, Fresno, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, and the Valley air basin portion of Kern County.
Additionally, air officials said there is the potential of gusty winds reaching the Valley today, which may lead to high dust levels in isolated areas.
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, officials said.
Where conditions warrant, people with heart or lung disease should follow their doctors’ advice for dealing with episodes of particulate exposure. People with existing respiratory conditions, young children and elderly people are especially susceptible to the health effects from these pollutants.
Air officials said anyone being exposed to poor air quality or wildfire smoke should move inside to an air-conditioned or heated environment with their windows closed.
Residents can use the district’s Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) to track air quality at any Valley address by visiting myraan.com.
The RAAN monitors are designed to detect the microscopic PM2.5 particles that exist in smoke. Ash pieces, however, are much larger in size and will not be detected.
If an area is impacted by smoke and ash fall, officials said air quality should be considered “unhealthy” (RAAN Level 4 or higher), even if the monitor reflects a lower reading.
The public can check the district’s wildfire page at www.valleyair.org/wildfires for information about any current wildfires and whether they are impacting the Valley. In addition, anyone can follow air quality conditions by downloading the free “Valley Air” app.
For more information, visit www.valleyair.org or call the district office in Fresno at 230-6000.