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Haze may last till weekend

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Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 10:00 pm

The region's hazy, smoke-filled weather is expected to continue today and possibly through the weekend.

Throughout the Central Valley, people are choking on the smoke and sweltering as temperatures continue to rise.

Today's high is forecast to be 95 degrees and temperatures are predicted to stay in the mid to high 90s through the weekend, according to the private weather forecasting firm AccuWeather.

Winds are expected to shift from the west to the north, but with hundreds of fires throughout the state, local residents can expect smoky conditions to continue. AccuWeather reports smoke has spread over most of California and much of Nevada.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District forecast today's air as "unhealthy," according to its Web site www.valleyair.org.

People with respiratory sicknesses are urged to stay indoors. Exposure to the smoke can cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis.

Lodi recreation supervisor Mike Reese says the city is letting its youth league coaches determine whether or not their respective teams will hold practice. However, any decision to postpone a game would have to come from the parks and recreation department, Reese said.

"We had one swim coach who decided not to have practice because of air quality," said Reese, who oversees the summer swim league. "We got a call in regards to swim lessons, but we only have the children for half an hour. The exposure is negligible."

Reese says the city wouldn't pull the plug on practices unless a smog alert warranted it. For example, he said schools sometimes receive advisories suggesting canceling outdoor recesses.

"I'm not aware of any such recommendations from air quality today," said Reese, who added a coach must respect a parent's decision to withhold a child from practice due to air quality concerns.

"Missing practice this late in the season isn't going to be a terrible thing," Reese said. "There's a higher rate of asthma among kids today, and they need to be wary on days like this."

Air district officials foresee no change to the poor air for at least several days. Some areas may actually get worse.

"We are continuing our health caution and urging people to take their local air-quality conditions seriously when determining their outdoor activities, said the district's spokesman Jaime Holt in a statement released Wednesday.

District staff also urge everyone to curtail any activities that may cause additional air pollution.

Much of the smoke in Lodi came from the Wild Fire in Napa and Solono counties that burnt 4,089 acres but is now fully contained.

While that fire has been contained, there are hundreds more throughout the state, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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