How to Help Those Affected by SoCal Brush Fires

Smoke Advisory Declared in San Fernando Valley, Coastal Areas

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County officials declared a smoke advisory on Saturday due to the Skirball Fire in Bel-Air and Creek Fire in the Sylmar area.

The Skirball Fire that started early Wednesday reached 75 percent containment Saturday afternoon, and its acreage has been reduced to 421 due to more accurate mapping, according to a statement released by the Los Angeles Fire Department Saturday afternoon.

The Creek Fire, which has burned 15,619 acres near Sylmar, or about 24 square miles, was 85 percent contained Saturday morning.

County health officials said that smoke from the two fires has caused unhealthy air quality in parts of east and west San Fernando Valley and the coastal areas of L.A. County.

The county’s interim health officer, Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, urged residents in those areas to avoid unnecessary outdoor exposure and to limit indoor and outdoor exercise or other physical exertions.

Flames are seen behind a Bel-Air mansion threatened by the Skirball Fire on Dec. 6, 2017. (Credit: AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck)

Flames are seen behind a Bel-Air mansion threatened by the Skirball Fire on Dec. 6, 2017. (Credit: AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck)

“It is difficult to tell where ash or soot from a fire will go, or how winds will affect the level of dust particles in the air, so we ask all individuals to be aware of their immediate environment and to take actions to safeguard their health,” Gunzenhauser said in a statement. “Smoke and ash can be harmful to health, especially in vulnerable individuals, like the elderly, people with asthma or individuals with other respiratory and heart conditions.”

The recommendation particularly applies to vulnerable people in the San Fernando Valley, Lake View Terrace, Sylmar, Malibu, Santa Monica and surrounding areas, according to the statement.

The county also recommends bringing pets inside and taking dogs and cats that appear to be experiencing respiratory distress to the animal hospital immediately.

Officials expect poor air quality linked to the wildfires to linger in Southern California.