San Joaquin Valley air pollution officials have issued an air quality alert that extends into Saturday.
The alert was issued shortly before noon Wednesday. The reason is smoke from the Northern California wildfires coupled with smoke from a big blaze in Tulare County wilderness.
The Lion Fire in the Sierra of far eastern Tulare County, caused by a lightning strike Sept. 24, had grown to 12,980 acres by Wednesday. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District said smoke from that fire is most likely to cause problems in the region’s foothills.
Several wildfires erupted Sunday night in Northern California, the worst in Santa Rosa.
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The air district issued issued the Valley-wide alert because of the fine particles that are found in smoky skies. Particle pollution can cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, aggravate lung disease and increase the chances of respiratory infections.
People with existing respiratory conditions, young children and elderly people are especially susceptible to these pollutants. Anyone exposed to poor air quality or wildfire smoke should move inside to an air-conditioned environment. Those with heart and lung diseases should follow doctor’s advice.
Fresno, Central and Clovis unified school districts canceled all outdoor activities Wednesday, including outdoor sports practices.
And Valley Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Zara Arboleda said its emergency department has recorded more children with breathing problems in the past few days. “They’re attributing those cases to the poor air quality,” she said. “Our staff is bracing for more kids to come in over the coming days, too.”
The air district maintains several pages with more specific, up-to-date information, including:
▪ the Real-time Air Advisory Network, www.valleyair.org/RAAN
▪ Wildfire monitoring, www.valleyair.org/wildfires