August 20, 2007

Fireworks and air pollution

Wildfires causing Valley air pollution
Regulators alert citizens with respiratory problems
Article Last Updated: 08/16/2007 02:36:07 AM PDT

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has issued a cautionary warning for much of the San Joaquin Valley due to two fires in southern California.

The fires — the Zaca fire in Santa Barbara County and the Tar Canyon fire in Fresno County — have spiked particulate levels to 55 micrograms per cubic meter in Bakersfield, or 20 micrograms above the federally accepted level, said Brenda Turner, a spokeswoman with the air district.

Though those closer to the fires have more to be worried about, residents in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties with respiratory problems, such as lung disease or asthma, or heart disease may want to stay indoors if they smell smoke, Turner said.

The immediate threat is small, but heavy winds could send smoke farther north.

To put particulate levels in perspective, fires in a fireplace also elevate the air to about 55 micrograms per cubic meter, Turner said. Fireworks raise the air to extremely high particulate levels. Modesto's fireworks boosted levels to 302 micrograms per cubic meter in July 2006.

However, particulate readings are averaged over a 24-hour period, and levels hit the 55 mark only once Wednesday.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | | Lakewood, CA
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