Harmful air quality is persisting across much of the Southern California region as wildfires continue to burn locally, throughout the state and in the Pacific Northwest.
On Tuesday the South Coast Air Quality Management District issued its latest smoke advisory which remains in effect for much of the region through Wednesday.
The air quality is forecast to be unhealthy in Los Angeles, unhealthy for sensitive groups in coastal areas, Orange County and the Inland Empire, and moderate in the Coachella Valley, the SCAQMD reported.
Locally, the Bobcat Fire that continues to rage in the Angeles National Forest after growing to more than 41,000 acres has blanketed several areas with days of scattered ash, dust and debris which has forced many residents to remain indoors as much as possible. The smoke from the El Dorado Fire, which has burned more than 17,000 acres in the San Bernardino Mountains near Yucaipa, has also added to the region’s poor air quality.
“Smoke from the southern extent of the El Dorado fire being transported predominantly west and south into Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Falling ash has been reported downwind of the Bobcat Fire throughout the South Coast Air Basin. Smoke from fires in Northern and Central California is still present in upper levels of the atmosphere this morning, which is reducing ventilation of polluted air out of the South Coast Air Basin,” the SCAQMD said in a news release Tuesday.
Officials say the particles floating around from the fires will likely remain for the near future and it’s important for everyone to be aware of the air quality and its potential impacts.
“It is difficult to tell where smoke, ash or soot from a fire will go, or how winds will affect the level of these particles in the air, so we ask everyone to remember that smoke and ash can be harmful to health, even for people who are healthy,” said L.A. County Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis. “If you can see smoke, soot, or ash, or you can smell smoke, pay attention to your immediate environment and take precautions to safeguard your health. These precautions are particularly important for children, older adults, and people with heart or lung diseases.”
Davis said day camps in smoke-impacted areas are advised to suspend outside recreation including hiking and picnics.
The SCAQMD is asking the public to avoid burning wood until the poor air quality improves.
Anyone who smells smoke or sees ash should limit exposure by staying indoors with windows and doors closed and are urged to avoid vigorous physical activity.
Wildfire smoke and its particles can cause burning eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, headaches and illness. For those with sensitive conditions, the small particles from wildfire smoke can cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, fatigue and chest pain.
Specifically, Tuesday’s smoke advisory noted unhealthy air quality in the following areas:
- Central Los Angeles
- Northwest Coastal LA County
- Southwest Coastal LA County
- South Coastal LA
- Southeast LA County
- West San Fernando Valley
- East San Fernando Valley
- West San Gabriel Valley
- East San Gabriel Valley
- Pomona-Walnut Valley
- South San Gabriel Valley
- South Central Los Angeles County
- Santa Clarita Valley
- San Gabriel Mountains