September 18, 2020

Smoke advisory issued as layers of ash darken skies across Southern California

Air quality plummeted in communities surrounding two wildfires burning Thursday in Southern California as sunlight that filtered through layers of smoke and ash cast a sepia-toned haze and the smell of wood smoke lingered throughout the region.

A smoke advisory went into effect at 11 a.m., and will remain active through Friday in areas near the Bobcat fire north of Azusa and the El Dorado fire burning in near Yucaipa, South Coast Air Quality Management District officials said in a bulletin. Readings taken in the San Gabriel Valley, the Santa Monica Mountains and the Inland Empire recorded “unhealthy” levels of fine particulate matter in the air.

AIR QUALITY ADVISORY UPDATE: #BobcatFire + #ElDoradoFire Smoke Advisories extended to Friday, September 11th: https://t.co/Y158OoPtBX pic.twitter.com/oicKQJBhpp

— South Coast AQMD (@SouthCoastAQMD) September 10, 2020

People living in areas affected were advised to avoid physical activity and stay indoors with their doors and windows closed as light orange haze hung in the atmosphere. The health of older adults, young children, pregnant women and people with heart or lung diseases may be especially at risk due to poor air quality.

Concerns over unhealthy conditions prompted officials in Los Angeles County to close six COVID-19 testing centers.

Areas along the 210 Freeway between Pasadena and Rancho Cucamona should be the most heavily impacted by smoke from the Bobcat fire between Thursday evening and Friday morning, AQMD officials said. The impact of the El Dorado fire should be limited to the region between Yucaipa and Banning during that period. Onshore winds were forecast to arrive during the afternoon and may push smoke north and east.

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Reduced air quality was also reported in parts of San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties. Residents in the San Fernando Valley began to notice ash from the Bobcat fire clouding the sky early in the week. Scott Wise, 59, of Chatsworth said he observed a smoke-induced haze over a 35-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway when he picked up his girlfriend at LAX on Tuesday.

By Thursday, the scent of burnt forest hung in the air, but that didn’t stop 76-year-old Bob Menefee, 76, from stepping out to enjoy a short walk and a cigarette. The resident of the Brookdale Senior Living facility in Chatsworth had been on quarantine for the past six months after someone at the nursing home showed signs of possible COVID-19 infection. However, no positive cases were detected, and residents were finally allowed to leave their rooms on Tuesday.

“There is no sunshine,” Menefee said of the skies obscured by smoke above him. “However, just the opportunity, the flexibility to get out of my room, I’m going to sit on my butt and enjoy it, sun or no sun. We’ll take it babe, one day at a time.”

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

      

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