Stay inside: Health officials warn against outdoor activities due to unhealthy air quality

The Central Valley woke up to thick, smoky skies on Monday morning as wildfires continue to rage in California.

ByDale Yurong and ABC30.Com Staff KFSN logo
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Air quality unhealthy for all today due to wildfire smoke
The Central Valley woke up to thick, smoky skies on Monday morning as wildfires continue to rage in California.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The thick smoke we've been dealing with may resemble fog at times, but your lungs tell you otherwise.

Despite the unhealthy air quality, some people have continued their outdoor runs and workouts.

Fresno allergist Dr. Praveen Buddiga said, "I always cringe when I see someone exercising."

Dr. Buddiga was worried about everyone - not just his patients.

He explained, "The eyes are burning. They're having a lot of the problems breathing because of all the ash coming down."

Satellite images showed smoke from the Creek Fire and SQF fires moving over the Valley, especially Fresno, Clovis and Madera.

We're used to poor air quality in the Valley during the summer, but wildfires statewide have burned over 3 million acres this year.

Pollution Control District Air Quality Science Director Joe Klassen said, "Just thinking back in history, I don't think we've had a widespread event with this many high concentrations for this prolonged of a period. I can't remember that, so I think we are kind of breaking some records here for air quality in a bad way."

The levels of PM2.5, microscopic particulate matter, have spiked with two wildfires burning nearby.

Dr. Buddiga urged people to not ignore the unhealthy air quality readings.

He said, "That's almost detrimental to their health where some of these particles enter their bloodstream and cause even heart problems. Of course, we know it causes lung problems."

The air quality was enough for Fresno Unified to halt all outdoor activity.

But some people still continue to spend time outdoors. The smoky conditions were expected to last for the next few days.

Klassen said, "This is an unprecedented situation for a lot of California and much of the western United States."

It was also recommended you change your air filters more often to improve the air quality inside.

We may get a little improvement outside by the end of the week, depending on weather conditions and the fire fight.

The air quality for the entire Valley will be unhealthy on Monday. You can track the air quality index in your area by clicking here.

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