Smoke from the Crews Fire in Santa Clara County is currently impacting the central and southern portions of the San Joaquin Valley. Smoke from several other wildfires surrounding the Valley also have the potential to affect air quality over the next few days. As a result, the District is issuing a health caution, which will remain in place until the fires are extinguished. Local air pollution officials caution Valley residents to reduce exposure to the particulate matter (PM) emissions by remaining indoors in effected areas.
The Crews Fire began Sunday, July 5, just north of Gilroy, and has already consumed 1,500 acres. While currently affecting Madera, Fresno and Kings counties, the fire has the potential to impact the entire Valley including the counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Tulare and Kern.
PM pollution 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 indoors, to a filtered, air-conditioned environment with windows closed.
Residents can use the District’s Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) to track air quality at any Valley location by visiting myRAAN.com. District air monitoring stations are designed to detect microscopic PM 2.5 particles that exist in smoke. However, larger particles, such as ash, may not be detected. If you smell smoke or see falling ash in your immediate vicinity, consider air quality “unhealthy” (RAAN Level 4 or higher) even if RAAN displays lower level of pollution.
The public can also check the District’s wildfire page at www.valleyair.org/wildfires for information about any current wildfires affecting the Valley. In addition, anyone can follow air quality conditions by downloading the free “Valley Air” app on their mobile device.
For more information, visit www.valleyair.org or call the District office in Modesto at 209-557-6400.