Smoke from two wildfires entering Kern County; Air officials issue smoke health caution

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Two wildfires in the Sierra Nevada are sending smoke emissions to the air basin, prompting local air officials to issue a health cautionary statement.

Wildfires are burning in Madera and Mariposa counties and smoke may impact the eastern parts of Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties, including the foothill and mountain areas. In addition, eastern portions of the Valley floor may be affected during overnight hours.

The health caution is in place until the fires are extinguished.

“Our standard is, if you can see smoke and smell smoke, you are being affected,” said Samir Sheikh, the Air District’s director of air quality analysis.

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 should avoid prolonged exposure or heavy exertion, depending on their local conditions.

Residents can check the nearest air monitor to their location to determine localized conditions. Visit the Real-time Air Advisory Network page on the District’s website to subscribe for free: http://www.valleyair.org/Programs/RAAN/raan_landing.htm.

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