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Excessive heat warning raises ozone, wildfire concerns

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VICTOR VALLEY — The Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) is advising of potentially poor air quality this week as a result of excessive daytime high temperatures. This advisory is in effect through Sunday, June 20, 2021 for all of the MDAQMD jurisdiction.

The National Weather Service forecasts show all areas within the Mojave Desert Air Basin reaching into triple digits beginning Monday, June 14 and continuing through at least Sunday, June 20. The advisory may be extended consistent with NWS and air quality forecasts.

As Southern California continues to experience high temperatures amid an expected heatwave, ground-level ozone is likely to degrade ambient air quality.

The air quality forecast issued for Monday, June 14 shows unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone expected in the Phelan/Pinon Hills areas; air quality that is unhealthy for sensitive groups in Hesperia, Twentynine Palms, Victorville and Yucca Valley; and moderate air quality in Barstow and Trona.

Sensitive groups include those with heart and respiratory illnesses, children, seniors and active adults.

The high temperatures, especially when combined with low humidity levels, also exponentially increase the risk of wildfires, which may cause wildfire smoke impacts to local air quality.

As ground-level ozone can be difficult to detect to the human eye and nose, MDAQMD encourages residents to check the Air Quality Index before heading outside.

You can visit MDAQMD.ca.govAirNow.gov or use the weather app on your smartphone. An AQI of 101 or higher is unhealthy for sensitive groups; 151 or higher is unhealthy for all; 201 or higher is very unhealthy.

In any area impacted by poor air quality including smoke:

  • everyone should avoid any vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion;
  • people with respiratory or heart disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors;
  • keep windows and doors closed;
  • run your air conditioner if you have one – recirculation function is ideal;
  • avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing outdoor pollutants inside.

(source: Mojave Desert Air Quality)

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