Recent fires having big impact on Valley's air quality

MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thick black smoke pouring from a massive fire in west central Fresno added to our air quality woes. Vehicles, dry brush and a shed all went up in flames.

RELATED: 50-year-old woman accused of setting Fresno fire that sent up huge clouds of thick, dark smoke

"Anybody that is closest to that fire is definitely feeling the impact," says Cassandra Melching. "You'll smell it. It's gonna burn your eyes."

The Valley Air District issued a Health Caution to let the public know smoke created by the River Fire will eventually settle to the ground.

RELATED: River Fire in Madera, Mariposa counties at 8,000 acres, 10% contained, residents ordered to evacuate

Satellite images show you which direction the smoke is moving.

"The smoke is looping East and then swinging back in," Melching said.

The smoke is already impacting the health of many people.

"Irritation of the eyes, nasal congestion and difficulty breathing in terms of cough," says Dr. Praveen Buddiga. "Cough is the first symptom."

Dr. Buddiga recommends you wear a mask outdoors if you smell smoke outside, and that's what we saw in downtown Fresno.

The wildfire is sending more PM2.5 into the air, which Dr. Buddiga says can even cause skin rash.

"More and more, I'm seeing skin issues, skin inflammation, secondary to the bad air quality, which is surprising," he said.

The air district expects our air quality to suffer for the next few days.

"Especially being under a high-pressure system, the smoke has nowhere to go," Melching said.

Dr. Buddiga urges you to limit your time outdoors because of the bad air and high heat.
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