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Valley smoky skies are back — and will likely get worse

Sights and sounds from Camp Fire in Paradise

The Camp Fire forced the evacuation of residents in Paradise as high winds pushed the fire to the town causing many homes and businesses to burn.
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The Camp Fire forced the evacuation of residents in Paradise as high winds pushed the fire to the town causing many homes and businesses to burn.

Breathe what’s left of that good air this weekend — while you still can.

The National Weather Service in Hanford predicts air quality for the Fresno region will worsen Sunday, as northern winds will cause smoke to blanket the central San Joaquin Valley.

Meteorologist Andy Bollenbacher on Saturday said 40 mph winds from the north will push smoke from the Camp Fire near Chico south into the Valley, decreasing humidity and air quality.

The low humidity will increase fire hazards in the mountain areas of Tulare and Kern counties, which are already under red-flag warnings. The conditions are expected to last into Monday.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District issued a health caution Friday as smoke was sure to impact the health of the most sensitive individuals — which includes the elderly, children, and people with asthma.

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Grey, smoke-filled skies above downtown Fresno on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 Victor A. Patton vpatton@fresnobee.com

The air district said the caution would remain in place at least until the raging fires are extinguished. The district included a “No Burning Unless Registered” advisory along with their health caution to cut down on smoke in several Valley counties.

“Smoke from wildfires produces particulate matter which can trigger asthma attacks, aggravate chronic heat and lung diseases and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke,” the air district said in a Friday news release. Anyone with health issues should speak with a doctor and stay indoors when possible.

The air district’s Real-time Air Advisory Network held the ozone quality at Level 1 and OK for all groups Saturday. The microscopic particles from the smoke were listed Level 3, which means sensitive individuals are recommended to conduct activities indoors.

Bollenbacher said the blanketing smoke will also cause temperatures in the Valley to shift. Nighttime temperatures will be “a little warmer,” he said. In the daytime, the smoky conditions will block the sun and cause high temperatures to drop slightly.

The stretch of dry weather will continue at least for the next eight days, with little chance for rain to repair low humidity levels that increase fire hazards in mountain areas.

Normally, November would see frequent showers according to Bollenbacher. No fire advisories are currently in place for the mountain areas of Fresno County.

Hundreds have fled the deadly fires in Northern and Southern California, and the potential for the fires to grow increases with the continuous dry weather and increased winds.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez
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