Monday June 13, 2022

Los Angeles Times

Driving to work one gray morning last year, Eduwiges Aguayo stopped suddenly when she saw columns of smoke billowing from burning piles of discarded grapevines.

Aguayo, who had stopped about a mile from her home in San Joaquin Valley’s grape country, called her family to give them a warning: Stay indoors, shut the windows and avoid running the air conditioner since it draws air from outside.

“It looked almost as if it was cloudy, like it was very gray outside,” Aguayo recalled of the ashen haze that surrounded her. “But it wasn’t cloudy. It was air pollution.”

In a region that already suffers from some of the worst particulate pollution in the nation, San Joaquin Valley residents are learning that extreme drought conditions can be as hard on human lungs as they are on local crops.

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