NewsCovering Kern County

Actions

Parts of Kern County experience bad air quality Sunday

Posted at 11:22 PM, Oct 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 02:22:55-04

Kern County continued to experience unhealthy weather conditions Sunday due to ongoing wildfires throughout the state.

"A lot of these fires are in the Sierra Nevada or the adjacent foothills, so when you have the easterly wind, it pushes the smoke right back into the valley and you have that bathtub bowl effect, where it all just sinks into the valley and the particulates don’t have anywhere to go,” said Andrew Bollenbacher Meteorologist, National Weather Service In Hanford.

That interaction of the weather and the elements Bollenbacher mentioned, caused a smokey haze over much of the San Joaquin Valley here in Kern County. Earlier this week, the smoke got trapped in the Kern River Valley from the Windy Fire blazing North of Kern County.

On Saturday, an official of the Kern Valley Healthcare District told 23ABC how smoke from nearby wildfires has affected their residents over the past week. writing in part: “We have seen an uptick of ER visits due to the fire. During the last two fires we have seen patients with eye irritations, headaches and breathing problems. We treat them in our ER with a breathing treatment and they are good to go. People are also experiencing depression because of the smoke. Kern Valley Hospital does not have an ICU. For anyone requiring a higher level of care we stabilize the patient so they can be safely transported.”

According to IQAir, the air quality has since improved in the Kern River Valley, but now, according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution control district--those conditions worsening in Bakersfield Sunday with an AQI of 157, or unhealthy for the average person.

The good news: Kern County should start seeing an active weather pattern mid-week this coming week or early the week after, according to Bollenbacher.

“We may see an opportunity for the winds to start coming out of the southwest, so maybe we get a reprieve from the smoke, but I don't want to jinx the forecast,” Bollenbacher said.