Wildfires affecting Fresno air quality

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Summer smog, combined with smoke from wildfires hundreds of miles away are responsible for the Valley's bad air quality. (KFSN)

The poor air quality is visible and in Fresno County, and the Sierra Foothills, is listed as unhealthy. The rest of the Valley is classified as unhealthy for sensitive groups. Summer smog, combined with smoke from wildfires hundreds of miles away are responsible.

The Valleys usually bad summer air is being made worse by smoke seeping in from the northwest. Cassandra Melching of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has been monitoring the flow of smokey air into the Central Valley.

"We are being impacted by the wildfire that's occurring over in Big Sur. That's drifting all this way, and then it doesn't have anywhere else to go and just hovers above us, creating the poor air quality we are seeing these days."

The air in Fresno County is currently classified as unhealthy for everyone, and folks are being encouraged to stay indoors. But, not everybody heeds the advice.

"The air quality is definitely not great today, especially with the heat being so bad. It's hard bringing the kids to the park when the airs to bad, but you need to get out of the house too," said Devin Hansen, Clovis resident.

And some playing Pokemon Go wouldn't let air pollution stop them.

"Smog is in the air, is that ever a concern to you," asked our reporter.

"Not really, that's why I try to come out early instead of later in the day," said Mathew Pulliam, Clovis resident.

David Merkord, a Clovis resident, said,"Lived here all my life, pretty much used to it. I mean, not going to stay indoors all the time, have to get out and be active."

But the bad air is a health risk, especially for those with respiratory problems. And along with the smoke, the usual summer ozone problems caused by high pressure keeping a lid on the Valley is magnified.

"It keeps all the pollution that's above us trapped here. It's summertime, and so, typically we do see spikes in ozone, but with these wildfires happening throughout the state the combination of both just lends itself to poor air quality altogether," said Melching.

Usually, when the air gets bad, air alerts are issued, advising folks not to use drive-through lanes, or use lawn mowers. But the smoke from the fires is so bad the air district said those steps won't make much difference.

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