Several wildfires smoldering in Southern California have led to poor air quality across the region.
By Friday afternoon, air quality levels were described as very unhealthy, stretching from Malibu Creek State Park to Santa Monica to Pasadena.
"The South Coast AQMD’s monitor in Reseda is also showing elevated PM2.5 concentrations, which is currently resulting in Unhealthy AQI levels," a news release read Friday.
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As meteorologist Anthony Yanez explains, PM2.5 levels are hazardous, even to healthy individuals, but especially to those with asthma, or heart disease. A lot of the particles are invisible, and will embed into your lungs.
While wind speeds have slowed, particulates remain in the air that could cause respiratory distress, particularly in those already affected by breathing issues.
- If you see ash or smoke, remain indoors. Close windows and doors.
- Avoid vigorous physical activity.
- Run your air conditioner, but clean the filter to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.
- Avoid using a whole-house fan or a swamp cooler with an outside air intake.
- Avoid using indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances, including fireplaces and candles.
- Do not rely on dust masks for protection. the AQMD says paper dust masks" may block large particles, but are protecting your lungs from small particles that are often found in wildfire smoke. "Disposable respirators such as N-95 or P-100 respirators can offer some protection, if they are worn properly and have a tight fit." Get more tips on masks here.
- PETA was also reminding residents to bring pets indoors.
Subscribe to AQMD alerts here.
Cleaning tips from AQMD after a wildfire
- If you have heart or lung problems, don’t clean ash or soot.
- Avoid skin contact with the ash.
- Don’t use leaf blowers. Use damp cloths and spray lightly with water. Direct ash-filled water to ground areas and away from the runoff system.
- If you need to clean the ash in your home, use vacuums with HEPA filters or if possible, similar industrials ones with disposable collection filter bags. Sweeping gently with a broom is another option.
- Take your car to the car wash.
- Wash off toys.
- Clean ash off pets.
You can view current air quality ratings here.