Fires create haze over Tracy, San Joaquin Valley
by Glenn Moore
Jul 31, 2013 | 4842 views | 0 0 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Smoke hangs low over Interstate 580, obscuring the Altamont hills to the west of Tracy on Tuesday, July 30.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Smoke hangs low over Interstate 580, obscuring the Altamont hills to the west of Tracy on Tuesday, July 30. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Grass fires burning both to the south and to the north of the San Joaquin Valley are contributing to haze blanketing the hills south of Tracy on Tuesday, July 30.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Grass fires burning both to the south and to the north of the San Joaquin Valley are contributing to haze blanketing the hills south of Tracy on Tuesday, July 30. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Tracy residents might be noticing the haze that’s recently been hanging over the city and San Joaquin Valley.

Smoke from the Aspen fire south in Fresno County and other grass fires north near the Oregon border has settled over the area and prompted an air quality health warning from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution District on Tuesday, July 30.

The smoke blanket has covered parts of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties along with some foothill and mountain areas, according to the air pollution district.

The health warning was issued Tuesday because the district expects air quality to deteriorate as the smoke is expected to linger through the end of the week.

Anthony Presto, spokesman for the air pollution district, said residents who see or smell smoke should remain indoors or try to filter the smoke by other means.

The smoke raises the fine particulate matter in the air, a move the air pollution district said can lead to serious health problems including lung disease, asthma attacks and an increased risk of heart attacks or stroke.

An air quality monitoring station at the Tracy Airport on Wednesday, July 31, shows the particulate levels as moderate and ozone levels as unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities when particulates and the ozone at these levels can be dangerous, according to the district.

The foothills south and west of Tracy and Mount Diablo were covered by a thick haze much of the week.

Presto said the health warning will be in effect until the grass fires are extinguished.

For Tracy air quality readings, go online: http://www.valleyair.org/programs/raan/raan_index.htm?x=TracyAP.

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com.

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