Smoke infiltration from the Windy and KNP Complex fires in Tulare County combined with high pressure and poor dispersion have prompted air quality officials in the San Joaquin Valley to issue an Air Quality Alert. Smoke is expected to continue to impact the San Joaquin Valley through late morning. Thursday, Oct. 7, when a low-pressure system moving over the Valley is forecast to improve dispersion. The District warns residents being impacted by smoke to remain indoors to reduce their exposure to particulate matter (PM) emissions.
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. Residents experiencing poor air quality due to wildfire smoke should move to a filtered, air-conditioned environment with windows closed. Common cloth and paper masks being used as protection from COVID-19 may not be sufficient protection from wildfire smoke inhalation. For outdoor workers and other individuals that may not be able to remain indoors, state health authorities recommend the use of N95 facemasks as feasible.
The District strongly encourages Valley residents, school officials, and event planners to closely follow the current air quality conditions and recommendations when making decisions about outdoor activities to minimize smoke impacts to public health. For details on current and past wildfires affecting the Valley, as well as resources to protect yourself from exposure to wildfires smoke, visit the District’s Wildfire Information page at www.valleyair.org/wildfires. In addition, you can access RAAN (Real-Time Air Advisory Network) 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 current air quality and smoke impacts.
For more information, visit www.valleyair.org or call a District office in Modesto (209-557-6400), Fresno (559-230-6000) or Bakersfield (661-392-5500).