Ongoing wildfires in California and Oregon are generating smoke that is now affecting the San Joaquin Valley. Smoke from the fires is being carried into the Valley by changing wind direction through the northern part of the state. Weather patterns through this weekend have the potential to continue to draw wildfire smoke into the Valley. As a result, the District has issued an Air Quality Alert with the National Weather Service. Residents impacted by the smoke are advised to stay indoors to minimize exposure to particulate matter (PM) emissions.
The District strongly urges the public to take health-protective actions to stay safe when smoke from wildfires affects the Valley, including following air quality recommendations when making decisions about outdoor activities. Additional health protective actions include:
Using portable air cleaners or high-efficiency filters to remove fine particles from the air;
Planning ahead and creating a “clean air room”;
Visiting a Clean Air Center. Similar to the Valley’s cooling centers, the District’s Clean Air Centers provide relief when wildfires and smoke events occur.
Particulate matter can trigger asthma attacks, aggravate chronic bronchitis, and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Individuals with heart or lung disease should follow their doctors’ advice for dealing with episodes of PM exposure. Those with existing respiratory conditions, including COVID-19, young children and the elderly, are especially susceptible to the health effects from this form of pollution. Anyone experiencing poor air quality due to wildfire smoke should move to a filtered, air-conditioned environment with windows closed.
For details on wildfires affecting the Valley, visit the District’s Wildfire Resource page at www.valleyair.org/wildfires. In addition, you can use RAAN to check air quality at any Valley location at myRAAN.com, or the District’s “Valley Air” mobile application, and view the EPA AirNow Fire and Smoke map (https://fire.airnow.gov/) for information regarding smoke impacts.
The Valley Air District covers eight counties including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and San Joaquin Valley air basin portions of Kern. For additional information about the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, visit www.valleyair.org or call 559-230-6000.