Heat, fireworks, drought contribute to bad Valley air

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The air we're breathing is already bad leading up to the 4th of July holiday. Wednesday is a red flag day, meaning we're breathing polluted and bad air, and this heat isn't helping. Add that to this weekend's fireworks and our air will go from bad to worse.

Iliana Dahl says, "It's a little bit harder to breathe actually." She came to the Zoo on Wednesday, but only in the morning hours -- not wanting to expose little penny to the heat and toxic air any more than she has to. She says, "It's terrible".

The Valley Air District couldn't agree more. They want uniform change and they wish personal fireworks didn't exist. "It seems foolish we would have an activity that increases air pollution and makes it hard for people to breathe -- absolutely," says Heather Heinks, Valley Air District.

She says the problem is those fireworks contribute soot and ash to the elevated pollution we're already breathing. Pollution that's collecting and baking in our Valley heat. "There are other ways to show your patriotism than creating additional air pollution for an area that's already inflicted with serious issues."

Their wish is for people to support public shows. Elderly, the very young and those with respiratory problems are already affected by the toxic particulate matter which spikes past federal health levels on the fourth.

Allergist and Doctor A.M. Aminian says, "They start with their eyes burning, irritation of the eyes then they get the chest tightness, heaviness and they can't get enough air."

He says there's less oxygen in the air which means your bronchial tubes aren't getting the oxygen they need. He suggests staying inside. No barbecuing, and no fireworks. "Because of the heat, dehydration, exhaustion, and heat strokes will be high -- people have to be aware of that."

As for Iliana and her family, her plans for the fourth include staying cool and staying indoors. This warning comes on the heels of the Valley Air District's recent announcement that they're putting the federal government on notice, as the drought has made our air pollution worse than ever.
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