Oak Fire: Valley air quality expected to worsen due to smoke from Mariposa County wildfire

Experts recommend changing the air filters for both your home and your vehicles.

Alyssa Flores Image
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
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As the Oak Fire spreads, experts warn that a change in weather conditions expected by the middle of this week could push smoke toward Fresno.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the Oak Fire continues to burn, air quality danger continues to rise in the mountains.

"The air quality is not safe for anyone whether you are healthy or unhealthy," said Dr. Malik Baz of Baz Allergy, Asthma, and Sinus Center.

He says anyone with serious respiratory issues should evacuate even beyond the Red Cross site at Mariposa Elementary to spare their lungs.

"If you have any type of respiratory condition you should get out of that area as quickly as possible because not only will it cost immediate respiratory symptoms, it will cause a long-term effect also," said Dr. Baz.

Air quality experts say down here in the Valley, we haven't seen the worst of it yet.

A change in weather, fire conditions and wind expected by the middle of this week means smoke will be pushed toward Fresno and the rest of the Valley.

With it will come harmful particulate matter.

"If the fire cools and that wind changes and it doesn't burn as hot, then it's not as forceful pushing up into the atmosphere and it has far more of a chance to sort of meander, smear and settle into the Valley drainages and kind of become more present where we are," said Heather Heinks from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

In anticipation, experts recommend changing the air filters for both your home and your vehicles. Make sure the filter's quality is high enough to actually filter out smoke.

Download the Air Now app so you can track harmful particulate matter from your location.

"Use your senses. Avoid being outside if you are smelling it as well," said Heinks.

Dr. Baz recommends staying indoors when the particulate matter levels rise and says if you have respiratory issues, make sure your medications and inhaler are on hand before you start to see symptoms like coughing, wheezing, nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, or tightness in the chest.

For the latest developments, photos and videos on the Oak Fire, click here.