The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has extended through Monday a health caution in connection with poor air quality due to smoke from the Mineral Fire in Fresno County. Local air pollution officials caution Valley residents to reduce exposure to the particulate matter (PM) emissions by remaining indoors in affected areas. The caution currently runs through July 20 but, depending on conditions, could be extended further.
The Mineral Fire began Monday, July 13, west of Coalinga, and along with Fresno County, smoke from the fire is impacting the entire Valley including the counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Kings, 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.