Wildfires and Air Quality

June 23, 2008 2:43:06 PM PDT
Air District cautions to limit exposure. Smoke throughout the San Joaquin Valley has prompted local air-pollution officials to issue a health cautionary statement which remains effective until fires are extinguished. "Winds are transporting smoke from fires throughout California into all eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley air basin, which include: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Valley portions of Kern," said Shawn Ferreria, Senior Air Quality Specialist from the Valley Air District. Air District monitoring stations throughout the Valley are picking up elevated levels of particulate matter from smoke.

Exposure to particle pollution can cause serious health problems, aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and increase risk of respiratory infections. In people with heart disease, short-term exposure to particle pollution has been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Residents of the eight counties are advised to use caution. People with heart or lung diseases should follow their doctors' advice for dealing with episodes of unhealthy air quality. Additionally, older adults and children should avoid prolonged exposure, strenuous activities or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged exposure, strenuous activities or heavy exertion.

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 more information, visit www.valleyair.org/ or call the nearest District office: Modesto (209) 557-6400, Fresno (559) 230-6000 and Bakersfield (661) 326-6900.


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