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Archive for Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Smoky air chokes up residents

July 2, 2008

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— California's raging wildfires have created a smoky haze so stifling that some doctors in the state's landlocked farm country say their waiting rooms have been crowding with patients struggling to breathe amid the soot-laden air.

Even without the blazes, which have scorched more than 660 square miles statewide, the farming towns and subdivisions dotting the long, flat San Joaquin Valley are typically shrouded in a layer of smog during the summer.

But airborne ash from the hundreds of lightning-sparked fires caused such a spike in air pollution over the weekend that meteorologist Shawn Ferreria said it took his breath away.

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