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Smoke Raises Health Concerns

No it´s not LA, but Mother Lode air quality is pretty bad this week. Thick smoke in the air today has many Mother Lode Residents concerned.

Heavy smoke has moved into the foothills region from major wildfires in Oregon and in the Sequoia National Forest, obscuring surrounding mountains and raising local pollution levels dangerously high.

Tuolumne County Public Health Nurse Kathy Amos says on days like these, anyone with health problems needs to be cautious.

“With smoky conditions or bad air, persons with asthma, other upper respiratory diseases, and the elderly and small children should avoid outdoor activity,” she says.

“If a person is experiencing any kind of respiratory difficulty they should call their physician or 911.”

County Health Officer Dr. Robert E. Marshall has issued a health alert due to the pollution levels.

Deputy Tuolumne County Pollution Control officer Bill Sandman says the pollution levels in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties aren´t as bad as the San Joaquin valley.

“They probably have it worse as far as ozone right now,” he says. “We´re obviously getting some of their pollution, and that’s typical for these mountain counties.”

Earlier this week the air measured at Sequoia National Park had a higher smog reading than downtown Los Angeles.

Sandman says better air is on the horizon.

“There´s good news. On Friday, it´s going start breaking down through early next week. We´re going to have on-shore flows according to the meteorologist,” Sandman says. “And that will definitely lower temperatures.”