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Poor air quality from wildfires causes health risks for locals

Smoke from Southern California wildfires have locals in Southern Nevada struggling to breathe. An Air Quality Alert has been issued for Clark County. 6/24/2016 [Christy Wilcox/KSNV]

In Las Vegas, it usually isn't hard to see the mountain ranges that surround the valley, but with fierce fires burning in Bakersfield and other parts of California smoke is filling the valley.

Clark County Air Quality issued an upgraded alert Friday from an advisory Thursday because of an unhealthy amount of smoke and ozone in the area for an extended period of time - between 12 to 24 hours.

"We have more chance we are going to get smoke and the more chance that smoke is going to cause an increase in ozone," said Clark County Air Quality Manager Phillip Wiker.

Visitors from California were surprised to leave their homes, usually surrounded by haze during parts of the year, to the same hazy skies in Las Vegas. Elizabeth Valdez came with friends from Wittier, California. She said she watched some of the fires burn from her house, but she didn't know what she was seeing when she was at Stateline headed to Las Vegas.

"We were asking each other is that smog or something else, but I guess it was the smoke," said Elizabeth Valdez.

Allergy sufferers like Natalie Sorrentino said she gets an allergy shot, but these smokey days are almost as bad as allergy season. Sorrentino is a lifeguard this summer and said she doesn't enjoy being outside especially when she isn't feeling well from her reaction to the weather.

RELATED: Flames roar through central California homes; thousands flee, 2 dead

"I'm looking forward to the smoke being clear, and work and being happy during work, but I am really looking forward to winter," said Sorrentino.

Kathrina Paner, a certified Physician's Assistant at Tottori Allergy & Asthma Associates, said this season hasn't slowed down between the allergy season and other irritants.

RELATED: The News 3 Weather Page

"Smoke, irritants and chemicals it can cause inflammation and things like that, and that causes more respiratory problems," said Paner.

The upgraded alert is expected to downgrade by Saturday according to the Clark County Air Quality officials.

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