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Media summit reveals the dangers of smoke waves trapped in the Central Valley from wildfires

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

The science and reality of smoke inhalation can be more dangerous than we thought, according to Climate Central's in-depth alarming research



FRESNO, CA -- Monday's emergency media summit at Arte Americas in Fresno, CA, hosted by Ethnic Media Services and non-profit media and climate research-driven organization, Climate Central, delivered a serious wake-up call of the science and facts behind California's wildfires which have been spurring out of control over the last several weeks.


More dangerous than the Santa Ana winds, the smoke traveling throughout the Central Valley tells a different horrid story of unimaginable health risks; particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) is an unavoidable disguise that hides in the air we breath, although not foreseeable with the naked eye. The small particles are so small that they travel through the lungs and blood stream, settling in our bodies, wreaking havoc all along--cancers, Valley Fever, asthma, and other lung-related illnesses and infections are activated by these particles, freely flowing in the body.


So why are California wildfires worsening the Valley's already-pollution ridden air?


Climate Central news editor John Upton explained that the lack of prescribed fires, a natural practice originally learned from Native Americans of the land, is one major obstacle causing an increase in climate temperatures, too much fuel in California's natural habitat and forests, as well as an increase in the spread or jumping of fires from one area to another, (see more information about this below in the video.)


Climate Central science reporter, Molly Peterson, explained how the clashing of politics stops prescribed fires in their tracks; California's Clean Air Act is against these prescribed fires because of air pollution, although Peterson explained that wildfires cause three times more pollution because they are unexpected and spur out of control due to the excess fuel in the forest and natural habitat. Between fire marshals, politicians, and air pollution districts, getting all parties on the same page in regards to the science of this serious matter in California has seemed to be an impossible task, (watch video below for more insight.)


UCLA's Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies journalist, Jon Christensen discussed upcoming policy measures to help intervene with pollution solutions in air and water, targeting communities of color. These initiatives are suppose to help with preparedness essentials and other available options to fund community organizations who can help educate or provide residents with preventive measures.


However, environmental activists Genevieve Gale of Central Valley Air Quality Coalition and Nayamin Martinez of the Central California Environments Justice Network presented a detailed slideshow to highlight the largest areas of environmental injustices, specifically in concentrated communities of color, (see extensive slideshow in video below.) They discussed the lack of extra resources for families to be able to afford the right type of masks to shield themselves from the destructive dust pollutants. They especially discussed the horrible risks among farmworkers, construction workers and workers in outside jobs which make it unavoidable to inhale the dangerous PM2.5.


In September, ONME News moderated the Healthy Air Alliance round-table discussion to address the serious air pollution challenges, without the impact of wildfires. Watch video or listen to that podcast here.



Watch journalists townhall on the dangers of wildfires:

#Californiawildfires #smokewaves #ClimateCentral #EthnicMediaServices #particulatematterpollution #prescribedfires


Watch rebroadcast of above video on CMAC Comcast Channel 93 and AT&T Channel 99 Monday evening 8:00 PM-10:00 PM, Wednesday night, 9:00 PM -11:00 PM and Friday morning 10:00 AM Nov. 10 to Nov. 17.


Other Stories related to this topic:

Air quality roundtable discussion to address ethnic disparities and practical solutions

Last month's round-table discussion on poor air quality in the Valley now available online


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