Health & Medicine

San Joaquin Valley air quality district issues health caution, citing wildfire smoke

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has issued a Valleywide health caution throughout the weekend due to poor air quality caused by smoke from local wildfires.

Sacramento is not included in the zone affected, but areas south of Sacramento, including Stockton, will likely be impacted.

The local wildfires include one in Medford Island, northwest of Stockton, and fires in the Inyo National Forest and Sierra National Forest bordering the San Joaquin Valley on the east.

The advisory recommends people in areas with poor air quality to stay indoors and keep windows closed, warning that inhaling smoke can aggravate conditions for people who have asthma or chronic heart and lung diseases, as well as increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

People can go to the website www.myraan.org to check the air quality at their specific address, the advisory said. The website rates the air quality with a score from Level 1 to Level 5. The greater number, the poorer the air quality. The website advises that at Level 3, people particularly vulnerable to the effects of poor air quality — such as young children, elderly people and people with existing respiratory conditions — should stay indoors. At Level 5, everyone should stay indoors.

Information about the ongoing fires can be accessed at www.valleyair.org/wildfires.

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