Health caution issued as Contra Costa County wildfire fills valley skies with smoke

A wildfire west of Stockton in Contra Costa County is filling many Central Valley city skies with smoke.

The Marsh Complex Wildfire started early Saturday morning near the town of Clayton. According to Cal-Fire the blaze has burned some 655 acres as of Saturday afternoon. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District issued a health caution about the poor air quality.

Local air officials said the smoke has affected air quality in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and Madera counties with the potential to spread to other valley counties.

“The health caution will remain in place and smoke impacts are likely, until the fire is extinguished,” said the statement from the air district.

Officials warn that particulates in wildfire smoke can trigger asthma attacks, aggravate chronic heart and lung disease, and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. People with existing respiratory conditions, young children and elderly people are the most susceptible to the health effects from wildfire smoke.

The air district recommends those at risk move inside to an air-conditioned environment and keep the windows closed. Residents can use the district’s Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) to track air quality at any valley address by visiting myraan.com. More information about wildfires and air quality can be found at www.valleyair.org/wildfires or the free “Valley Air” app, available in the Apple store or Google Play.

For more information, visit www.valleyair.org or call a district office in Modesto at 209-557-6400.

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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