Fires Affect Air Quality

Ehron Sidel said he thought someone was having a campfire on the beach. Photo: Ehron Sidel.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) warns air quality in Los Angeles “may reach Unhealthy levels or higher in areas directly impacted by smoke,” as three fires burn across the region.

A fire east of the San Diego (405) Freeway near the Getty Center forced authorities to close the freeway in both directions. The 405  southbound has just reopened, but the northbound side remains closed between the 101 Freeway and the 10 Freeway.

Strong northeast winds are expected to continue through at least Thursday afternoon bringing smoke into the western portion of Los Angeles County.

Areas of direct smoke impacts and Unhealthful air quality include portions of:

West San Fernando Valley, East San Fernando Valley, Southwest Los Angeles County Coastal, and Northwest Los Angeles County Coastal.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow website shares, “While not everyone has the same sensitivity to wildfire smoke, it’s still a good idea to avoid breathing smoke if you can help it. And when smoke is heavy, such as can occur in close proximity to a wildfire, it’s bad for everyone.”

AirNow writes, “smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic materials burn. The biggest health threat from smoke is from fine particles. These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into your lungs. They can cause a range of health problems, from burning eyes and a runny nose to aggravated chronic heart and lung diseases. Exposure to particle pollution is even linked to premature death.”

SCAQMD advises; In any area impacted by smoke: Everyone should avoid any vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, pregnant women, older adults, and children should remain indoors. Keep windows and doors closed or seek alternate shelter. Run your air conditioner if you have one and keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. Avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. To avoid worsening the health effects of smoke, don’t use indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances, including fireplaces.