Health Emergency Declared in Ventura County, Officials Warn of Poor Air Quality in L.A. County as Woolsey Fire Keeps Burning
As a deadly wildfire continued burning through parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties Tuesday, officials warned of poor air quality and the threat of toxic substances being sent into the air.
The warnings were issued as some evacuation orders were lifted in the Los Angeles area and new orders were announced in eastern Ventura County. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is expected to visit the areas of the state devastated by wildfires, including the Woolsey Fire in SoCal.
Ventura County officials have declared a local health emergency in the region, warning of hazardous substances such as asbestos, heavy metals and toxic chemicals that may have been released by the burning and combustion of buildings, household cleaners and other materials.
As victims of the fire search through the remains of their homes, they could come across these potentially dangerous substances in the debris, county health officials said.
Meanwhile, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has warned of smoke and poor air quality across several parts of Los Angeles County, from the coastline to the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys. Forecasters say red flag conditions will stay in effect until Wednesday evening.
Santa Ana winds coming from the northeast are expected to carry remnants of smoke out to sea, district officials said. Throughout Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, onshore winds may push smoke from the Woolsey Fire into parts of L.A. County, officials added.
Officials have warned anyone who sees ash or smells smoke from the wildfire to limit their exposure by trying to stay indoors, keeping windows and doors closed and avoiding too much physical activity.