USA — Air quality officials are trying to determine whether wildfires left untended in the Sierra Nevada contribute to ozone violations in the San Joaquin Valley.
Officials with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District say September’s ozone violations were the worst in five years. Around that time, U.S. Park and Forest Service officials were letting the remote Tehipite fire burn more than 11,000 acres, in part because of potential risk to firefighters. They say fires are natural events that clear brush and rejuvenate forests.
Air quality officials will study data to determine whether that fire and another fire officials opted to extinguish contributed to bad-air days across the Valley. Federal air violations don’t count if fires caused them.