What's at stake?
Wildfire smoke is deteriorating Valley air quality. Last week, the local air district announced a small program to help protect against the smoke's fall-out.
The Valley Air District is giving out approximately 5,000 free air purifiers to South Central Fresno residents – and you may be eligible for one.
Details on the program are scarce, as the California Air Resources Board needs to approve the program in the coming weeks.
Pending the state’s likely approval, the air filter program will be rolled out in the coming months.
To qualify for the free air purifier, you have to live within the area bounded on the north by McKinley Avenue, on the south by American Avenue, on the east by Peach Avenue, and to the west by Brawley Avenue.
How do you get a free air filter?
Air filters and purifiers can trap tiny particles called PM2.5 pollution, which are known to cause damage to every organ in the human body.
Buying the right air filter can drastically reduce your health risks of living in the San Joaquin Valley, the most polluted air basin in the United States.
Filters will either be mailed directly to you or handed out at distribution events. To learn more about how to apply for a free air filter, contact the Valley Air District: (559) 230-6000.
What is the program?
The 5,000 free filters are part of the air district’s Residential Air Filtration Program Measure.
So far, the Valley’s pilot air purifier program has delivered only 329 free air filters to Fresno County residents.
Now, the air district is reallocating $1 million from a train replacement program to expand the air filter program.
The program announcement comes amidst programmatic flaws and signs of improvement from the Valley Air District.
During the last severe wildfire season, the air district’s pollution monitoring network could not keep up with the rapidly changing air quality impacts from the smoke’s drifting plumes, according to a Fresno Bee essay.
In April 2022, Fresnoland reported that the air district was overhauling its public safety advisory program, outdoor activity guidelines, and air quality monitoring databases.
Now, with the air filtration program, the air district is expanding its response to the Valley’s increasingly severe wildfire impacts and deteriorating air quality.
Fresnoland’s complete guide for smoke and air quality
For a complete guide on how to keep you and your family safe during wildfire season (and every other season), and which air filter is right for you, see Fresnoland’s guide for all things air quality.