A persistent and strong high-pressure system influencing the Valley this week has caused stagnant conditions and led to unhealthy air quality. Officials at the Air District want residents to remember this when considering lighting fireworks for the New Year holiday.
Although the level of pollution being emitted in the Valley is the lowest in recorded history, the recent large Thomas wildfire coupled with a strong inversion layer that has prevented pollution from dispersing, has resulted in a build-up of particulates over the past week. The public is urged to prevent personal emissions by refraining from the use of fireworks, avoiding residential wood burning and decreasing vehicle use. Some options include driving less, refraining from vehicle idling, trip linking and avoiding the use of drive-through services.
Fireworks increase levels of dangerous particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere, including soot, ash and metals, which can cause serious health impacts, especially to individuals with existing respiratory conditions, elderly people and small children.
Valley residents can track particulate matter levels using the District’s Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) by visiting www.valleyair.org/RAAN. Additionally, residents should visit checkbeforeyouburn.org daily to see if wood burning is allowed in their county before using a wood burning device.
For more information about the Air District, call a regional office in Fresno (559) 230-6000, Modesto (209) 557-6400 or Bakersfield (661) 392-5500.