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Air officials issue health caution

POSTED July 23, 2013 2:15 p.m.

A fire northwest of Stanislaus County is sending smoke southward, impacting areas of the Valley’s northern region and prompting local air officials to issue a health cautionary statement.

A fire is burning at a large composting facility near Vernalis and smoke may impact Stanislaus County residents, said San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District staff. The health caution is in place until the fire is extinguished.

Air district staff have been on site monitoring the situation, and have directed Recology Composting to extinguish the fire as quickly as possible.

“Our standard is, if you can see smoke and smell smoke, you are being affected and you should stay inside or leave the impacted area,” said Jaime Holt, the air district’s chief communications officer.

Smoke from fires produces fine-particulate matter, which can cause serious health problems including lung disease, asthma attacks and increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. Where conditions warrant, people with heart or lung disease should follow their doctors’ advice for dealing with episodes of particulate exposure. Additionally, older adults and children should avoid prolonged exposure or heavy exertion, depending on their local conditions.

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