Cloud-like smog greets fans at Fresno State's homecoming game

Sunday, November 9, 2014
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Fresno State fans cheered on the Bulldogs during a hazy homecoming Saturday night.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- At times you could hardly see the other side of Bulldog Stadium Saturday night. Cloud-like smog sat dense in the stands, but that didn't stop fans from celebrating a Fresno State homecoming.

"There's paramedics on the side to make sure that everyone's in good health and standing, so we should be alright," said Audree Girnus, a Fresno State cheerleader.

But Kevin Hall of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition says the pollution is so bad right now, no one should be outside.

"Doctors call this the heart attack season; triggers heart attacks, strokes, it will even trigger asthma attacks in people who do not have asthma," he said.

Air quality levels tracked by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District have been fluctuating from purple to red, which means the air in Fresno and Clovis is very unhealthy to breathe.

"The fine particulates are less than 2.5 microns in diameter," said Hall. "They bypass the body's natural defense systems and enter the blood stream directly through the lungs, and they reach your heart within two seconds and your brain within two seconds of that."

Hall says short-term and long-term side effects are mostly related to breathing.

Cal Fire engineer Tim Gehret confirms they've had a lot of calls related to respiratory issues.

"It doesn't seem to subside like it has in the past as we go into winter. But yes, respiratory distress is a big problem within the Central Valley," he said.

The best advice: stay indoors if at all possible, and limit strenuous activity when you are outside.

This haze is expected to last at least through Sunday, if not longer, so changing your outdoor plans might not be a bad idea.