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Control burn canceled. Merced County smoke is all from wildfires, officials say

This earlier report of a controlled burn has been removed.
This earlier report of a controlled burn has been removed.

The controlled fire planned at Castle Air Base has been canceled, according to the Merced County officials.

Earlier accounts from fire officials were corrected on Wednesday by Merced County CalFire officials, who said no grass was burned at the former air base, according to Battalion Chief Brian Neely.

"The control burn was planned for today, and due to conditions the control burn was canceled," he said. "Normally on these training burns, they'll do a test fire. They did not even do a test fire."

All of the smoke seen floating over Merced County is coming from blazes in the northern part of the state, Neely said.

A Merced City Fire Facebook post from early Wednesday initially said the controlled burn was contributing to the smoke in the area, but it has since been corrected. The Sun-Star's original post has also been removed from Facebook.

The Tubbs Fire in Napa County burned 27,000 acres as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the CalFire website. Also in Napa County, the Atlas Fire spread to 25,000 acres and the Patrick Fire burned up 1,000 acres. All three fires were burning out of control Tuesday, as were at least two other fires in Sonoma County.

Schools in Merced County were keeping children inside.

A health caution was also issued Valley-wide on this by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District as smoke from the wildfires blazing around California drifted into Merced and surrounding areas.

"If you can smell smoke or see ash that is an indication that you should be treating air quality conditions as 'unhealthy' and remain indoors," according to officials.

People can go to www.valleyair.org/RAAN to check local air quality conditions.

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