Air quality regulators warned Saturday that smoke from the La Tuna Fire has caused poor air quality that will affect everyone in the general fire area.
According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, unhealthy air quality will exist in portions of the following areas:
- West San Gabriel Valley
- East San Gabriel Valley
- East San Fernando Valley
- San Gabriel Mountains
- Glendale area
- San Fernando Valley
"It is difficult to tell where ash or soot from a fire will go, or how winds will affect the level of dust particles in the air, so we ask all individuals to be aware of their immediate environment and to take actions to safeguard their health," said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County. "Smoke and ash can be harmful to health, especially in vulnerable individuals, like the elderly, people with asthma or individuals with other respiratory and heart conditions."
Gunzenhauser urged all individuals in the above areas, or areas where there is visible smoke or the odor of smoke, to avoid unnecessary outdoor exposure and to limit physical exertion, whether indoor or outdoor.
Residents who may lose power due to the fire, especially the elderly or individuals with sensitive health conditions, are advised not to shelter in place, but instead to take advantage of their local cooling center. A list of cooling centers can be found on the Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, or by calling the L.A. County Information line at 211 from any landline or cell phone within the county.
"We are also advising schools that are in session in smoke-impacted areas to suspend outside physical activities in these areas, including physical education and after-school sports, until conditions improve," Gunzenhauser added. "Non-school related sports organizations for children and adults are advised to cancel outdoor practices and competitions in areas where there is visible smoke, soot, or ash, or where there is an odor of smoke."
Officials also urged residents to keep their pets indoors if possible, and to be alert for signs of respiratory distress. For dogs, this may include panting and/or an inability to catch their breath. Symptoms for cats are less noticeable, but may include panting and/or an inability to catch their breath.
If dogs or cats appear to be in respiratory distress, they should be taken to an animal hospital immediately.