Four outdoor events in Fresno and Clovis are the first casualties of the triple-digit heat wave and dirty air that residents will bear through the weekend.
The cancellations echo the basic message of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Hanford: Don’t go outside unless it’s absolutely necessary.
The events were canceled or rescheduled because of Thursday’s high of 108 degrees, Friday’s forecast high of 108, smoke filtering into the Valley from the Soberanes fire in Monterey County and a high-pressure system acting like a lid, trapping heat and dirty air. The high temperatures are forecast to dip slightly this weekend, with highs of 107 on Saturday and 103 on Sunday.
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The air district recommends that children and older adults especially avoid being outdoors for long periods of time or doing strenuous activities outside. It reminds residents that unhealthy air causes serious health problems and increases the chance of asthma attacks and respiratory infections.
Rescheduled and canceled events:
Rescheduled: Thursday’s Sierra Vista Mall Rock the Mall concert featuring the Marie Wilson Band will be Sept. 8.
Rescheduled: Friday’s Movies in the Park – Back to School Night backpack giveaway and movie showing at Eaton Plaza in downtown Fresno will be Aug. 12.
Rescheduled: The 3-on-3 Friday Night Basketball Tournament at Romain Neighborhood Park. It’ll resume Aug. 5, with championship night Aug. 12.
Canceled: Friday’s Old Town Clovis Farmers Market.
The downtown Fresno backpack giveaway, planned for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday but moved to Aug. 12, will distribute 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies and age-appropriate books to students ages 5 to 15. After, children and parents can settle in for a big-screen showing of “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Manuel Mollinedo, director of parks and recreation services in Fresno, said many families arrive as early as 6 a.m. to line up for a backpack because they don’t have money to purchase school supplies. The decision to cancel was done out of concern for families waiting almost all day in the heat.
Mollinedo encourages people to arrive later in the day, bring a lot of water and try to keep as cool as they possibly can. Since the sponsors increased the number of backpacks from 500 to 2,000 last year, he predicts most kids will be able to get a backpack. He also reminds Fresno residents that cooling centers and pools are open and free of charge.
Old Town Clovis Farmers Market canceled its weekly summer event for the first time in 27 years because of the heat. But the smaller Saturday market near Fifth Street and Pollasky Avenue will happen as planned from 8 to 11:30 a.m. And the Friday night event is set to resume Aug. 5.
Sierra Vista Mall rescheduled its Rock the Mall Concert featuring the Marie Wilson Band for Sept. 8 as well as the after-party from 9 to 11 p.m. at Rio Grill, said mall spokeswoman Natalie Khan. When temperatures are sustained at triple digits, the mall is open as a cooling center for residents. The outdoor concert series will resume Aug. 11 with Sugar.