As fires burn throughout California, SoCal air quality remains unhealthy for some groups

Local news

With fires raging throughout California and the Pacific Northwest, air quality in some areas of Southern California remains unhealthy for some groups.

Locally, two fires continue to burn in the Angeles and San Bernardino national forests, causing ash, dust and debris to pour down on the region. But even smoke from wildfires in Northern and Central California has made its way south, impacting local communities, officials said.

Nearly a week after a heatwave baked Southern California, the region is shrouded in smoke, casting an eerie orange glow over the area.

Air quality is moderate along the coast, in Orange County and the Coachella Valley, and moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups in Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Poor air quality forced the closure of several coronavirus testing sites in L.A. County Friday, with some expected to remain shut down through the weekend.

The worst areas, however, are those closest to the Bobcat and El Dorado fires, where a smoke advisory remains in effect through Friday.

A photo shared by the South Coast Air Quality Management District on Sept. 11, 2020 shows areas directly impacted by smoke from two local fire.
A photo shared by the South Coast Air Quality Management District on Sept. 11, 2020 shows areas directly impacted by smoke from two local fire.

The Bobcat Fire, which began Sunday in the Azusa area of the Angeles National Forest, has burned more than 26,000 acres and is only 6% contained.

The destructive El Dorado Fire, caused by a mishap at a gender reveal party Saturday in the Yucaipa area of the San Bernardino National Forest, has scorched more than 13,700 acres and is 31% contained.

Both fires are producing smoke visible on satellite and webcam imagery, South Coast AQMD officials said.

“Temporary monitors deployed in Azusa near the Bobcat fire and Redlands near the El Dorado Fire, as well as South Coast AQMD’s monitor in Glendora have measured hourly values in the Unhealthy AQI category,” officials said. “Low-cost sensors in the San Gabriel Valley, the Santa Monica Mountains, and portions of the Inland Empire have been in the Unhealthy AQI category.”

Smoke impacts from the El Dorado Fire are expected to be confined to the area between Yucaipa to Banning, with smoke moving into western Riverside County and the Coachella Valley, officials explained.

Onshore winds are expected to pick up Friday afternoon and move smoke to the east and northeast toward the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains, as well as the San Bernardino Valley.

Those who can smell smoke or see ash are advised to limit exposure by staying indoors with windows and doors closed and limit vigorous physical activity.

And while officials recommend the use of air purifiers while stuck at home during unhealthy fire conditions, consumers are finding that they are sold out, KTLA sister station KRON in the Bay Area reported.

The following areas in local counties are expected to be directly impacted by smoke and poor air quality:

Los Angeles County: Central and Southeast L.A. County, west and east San Fernando Valley, west, east and south San Gabriel Valley, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Pomona-Walnut Valley.

Riverside County: Corona-Norco, Perris Valley, Lake Elisnore, Temecula Valley, Anza Valley, Hemet-San Jacinto Valley, San Gorgonio Pass, Coachella Valley and east Riverside County.

San Bernardino County: Northwest, southwest, central and east San Bernardino Valley, as well as west, central and east San Bernardino Mountains.

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