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Smoke and Heat Advisory

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Madera County Dept of Public Health logo with text, "Health Advisory August 8, 2018 Smoke & Health Illness Prevention"

Health Advisory:  Smoke and Heat Illness Prevention

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District suggests that smoke from fires produces fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which can cause serious health problems including lung disease, asthma attacks and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

 Older adults and children should avoid prolonged exposure or heavy exertion, depending on their local conditions. If possible, individuals should remove themselves from those areas where there are direct smoke impacts.

People with existing respiratory conditions, young children and the elderly are especially susceptible to health effects from these pollutants. Health officials urge residents to follow their doctors’ orders when exposed to fire emissions.

 In recent discussions with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, the RAAN monitors do not pick up larger particulate matter, which also has significant adverse health effects. If an area is covered in ash, air quality should be considered “unhealthy” (RAAN Level 4 or higher) even if the monitor reflects a lower reading. If you see ash or smell smoke, all outdoor activities should be limited.


 Healthcare Providers:

  • Speak with patients, especially those with lung or heart concerns, about how wildfire smoke can affect their health and the precautions they should take to stay safe.
  • Direct patients to public health resources on how to stay healthy during poor air quality events. Resources can be found at

  • Encourage patients to check the Valley Air website for local air quality readings and activity recommendations.

  • Schools:

    • MCDPH strongly recommends that all outdoor activities at schools, parks, recreation areas, and planned sporting events be suspended if smoke is visible or can be smelled, or if the PM 2.5 level is red or above. MCDPH also encourages all facilities to monitor interior air quality, maintain fresh air intakes and adjust as necessary.

    • To protect all students, especially those with asthma or other chronic respiratory conditions, keep windows closed as much as possible and ensure that ventilation and air conditioning systems are set to recirculate mode. Schools that are heavily impacted by smoke should consider using HEPA-grade air purifiers to help clean the air in your classroom/facility.


    In addition, Madera County is also expecting triple digit temperatures over the next several days. Please remind patients of the following precautions to prevent heat-related illness

     Stay Cool:

    • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible

    • Find an air-conditioned shelter

    • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device

    • Avoid direct sunlight

    • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing

    • Take cool showers or baths

    • Check on those most at-risk twice a day

    Stay Hydrated:

    • Drink more water than usual

    • Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink more fluids

    • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside

    • Remind others to drink enough water