The 2022 wildfire season has arrived in Central California with isolated grass and wildland fires threatening to bring smoke into the San Joaquin Valley. The Valley Air District is encouraging residents to be prepared and plan now for potential poor air quality due to wildfire smoke that will likely reach the Valley as we head into the hotter, drier time of the year.
The District reminds residents to change out air filters in their home and set up a Clean Air Room for when smoke impacts become severe. A Clean Air Room is a room in your home or apartment where you and your family can escape the worst of the smoke impacts from wildfires. Follow these easy steps to create a Clean Air Room:
1. Choose a room where your entire family can relax and spend the majority of their time.
2. Prevent smoke from entering the room by tightly closing doors and windows.
3. Stay cool. Run fans, window air conditioners or central air conditioning.
4. Filter the air in the room with a store-bought air purifier or create a DIY air purifier.
5. Avoid creating smoke or other particles indoors (no candles, no open flame cooking, no smoking).
6. Spend as much time as possible in the clean air room to get the most benefits.
7. Remember cloths mask don’t work for wildfire smoke, choose N95 masks instead.
The recent hot and dry conditions throughout the San Joaquin Valley create the potential for wildfires and lead to smoke impacts in the region. A build-up of dry vegetation during the summer months presents a high risk for hotter, faster-moving fires in mountain communities surrounding the Valley, often sending smoke into the San Joaquin Valley.
Wildfire smoke contains particulate matter (PM), which can trigger asthma attacks, aggravate chronic bronchitis, and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Those with existing respiratory conditions are especially susceptible to the adverse health effects of this form of pollution. Anyone experiencing poor air quality due to wildfire smoke should move indoors to a filtered, air-conditioned environment with windows closed and contact their primary care provider for more information.
The public can check the District’s wildfire page at www.valleyair.org/wildfires for information about any current wildfires affecting the Valley. In addition, anyone can follow air quality conditions by downloading the free “Valley Air” app on their mobile device. Those residents in foothill or mountain communities should also listen to emergency alerts and be prepared to evacuate if needed.
For more information, visit www.valleyair.org or call the District office in Modesto at 209-557-6400.
The Valley Air District covers eight counties including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and San Joaquin Valley air basin portions of Kern.