information at A 420-ton alfalfa fire burning south of Fresno is expected to continue spewing smoke into the air through Tuesday, according to Fresno County Fire Capt. Jeremiah Wittwer.
The smoke prompted the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District in Fresno to issue a cautionary statement, warning residents that if smoke can be seen or smelled, it can be a hazard.
The fire erupted just before midnight Tuesday near the intersection of South Cherry and East North avenues. Wittwer said firefighters are being assisted by the owners of the crop in controlling the blaze.
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Heavy equipment is being used to break up the smoldering hay. Fully dousing the flames is not an option due to limited water resources.
Fire investigators have not established how the fire started, but Wittwer said spontaneous combustion of the hay was a possibility, as was arson.
The amount of damage to the crop was being assessed. In addition, a $15,000 barn was destroyed.
The air pollution statement said that smoke from fires produces fine-particulate matter which can cause serious health problems, including lung disease, asthma attacks and increased risk of heart attacks or stroke.
The Real-time air Advisory Network provides more information at www.valleyair.org/RAAN.