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Two Fires Prompt Health Caution From Air District

MOUNTAIN AREA – The smoke from two area wildfires has prompted local air officials to issue a health cautionary statement for smoke impacts in Merced, Madera, Fresno and Tulare Counties foothills and mountain areas, and the Valley portion of Kern County.

The Rough Fire, burning in Fresno County near Hume Lake is now nearly 10,000 acres, and the Cabin Fire in Tulare County east of Visalia, is 6,400 acres. Smoke from these two fires are having a major impact on the Central Sierra.

Currently smoke impacts are concentrated in the mountain and foothill areas of the air basin, and impacts on the Valley floor are also possible until the fires are extinguished, according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Smoke from fires produces fine-particulate matter (PM2.5), which can cause serious health problems including lung disease, asthma attacks and increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Where conditions warrant, people with heart or lung disease should follow their doctors’ advice for dealing with episodes of particulate exposure. Additionally, older adults and children are advised to avoid prolonged exposure or heavy exertion, depending on their local conditions.

People with existing respiratory conditions, young children and elderly people are especially susceptible to health effects from these pollutants. Air District officials urge residents to follow their doctors’ orders when exposed to fire emissions.

Residents can check the District’s wildfire page at www.valleyair.org/wildfires for information about any current wildfires and whether they are impacting the Valley. Residents can also check the nearest air monitor to their location to determine localized air-quality conditions. Visit the Real-time Air Advisory Network page on the District’s website to subscribe for free: www.valleyair.org/RAAN.

For more information, visit www.valleyair.org or call a District office in Fresno (559-230-6000), Modesto (209-557-6400) or Bakersfield (661-381-1809).

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Sierra News Online

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