The 3 dangerous factors putting Central California residents at risk

You can protect yourself during poor air quality events by creating your own temporary air purifier.

Brittany Jacob Image
Friday, September 9, 2022
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Wildfire smoke, ozone pollution, and a record-breaking heat wave this week made it hazardous for Valley residents to be outdoors this week.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In addition to the triple-digit temperatures this week, the Central Valley is also having air quality issues.

Wildfire smoke is not the only problem.

Ozone pollution is also a factor.

That's why officials are reminding you to use caution when you're outside.

When parents pick up their kids from school or when students are out practicing, that's typically the hottest part of the day. Heather Heinks with the Valley Air District said the afternoons also have the highest ozone levels, which can be bad for your health.

"Exposure to ozone, exposure to particulate matter those are the things that are going to make you feel unwell and that's what you're going to experience if you head out in the Valley today and in the next couple of days," said Heinks.

Extreme heat is part of a high-pressure system. Heinks described it as a lid holding down the pollution we create.

She suggested being mindful of idling - so your car emissions don't add to the problem.

The Valley Air District showed smoke from eight different fires across the state that could also be impacting our air quality right now.

It's creating very unhealthy air in Yosemite National Park.

Officials said if you can smell smoke and see ash, that is an indication that you are being affected by poor air quality.

So, if you plan to travel up to the mountains to escape the heat, Yosemite spokesperson Scott Gediman said there's no fire danger, but it's good to plan accordingly for the conditions.

"There's no reason not to come to the park but at the same time or someone who wanted to do a big extensive hike this weekend for example - that might not be the best time to do it," Gediman said.

Down in the Valley, EMS workers are seeing a noticeable increase in heat-related calls.

Ben Garcia with American Ambulance suggests staying in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can.

"We go out, we feel good, it's hot outside and we feel like we can adapt and the next thing you know we are experiencing a heat-related emergency," Garcia said.

You can protect yourself during poor air quality events by creating your own temporary air purifier.

Click here and here for more information.