High heat, fires prompt poor air quality warning in SoCal

Smoke from the massive Bobcat Fire combined with sizzling temperatures have caused unhealthy air quality in portions of Southern California, officials warned. 

The South Coast Air Quality Management team warned residents in Pomona- Walnut Valley, the San Gabriel Mountains, and east San Gabriel Valley to limit their outdoor exposure. 

(South Coast Air Quality Management District )

It's ironic, today is the first annual World Clean Air Day. A day to bring awareness to air quality. But, if you're in Southern California you might already realize our air is bad.

Fires and excessive heat are problems. And, without winds, we have stagnant air that makes for a bad situation. South Coast AQMD has issued air quality warnings.

In Azusa, locals told us things like this:

“It’s definitely not good."

”It’s terrible. It’s raining ash on my house.”

"Clearly just look up the sun is red instead of white (woman with him) unfortunate for a holiday weekend.”

Orangy-brown skies. Ash on cars… windows… everywhere.

To Dr. Fine, we have a "double whammy."

He says, “We actually have two pollutants we’re worried about today."

He says, "The smoke is a problem, but, so is ground ozone. That’s not like the good ozone that protects us. Dr. Fine says ground ozone particulates can have a negative effect on our respiratory systems, "especially if you have pre-existing conditions like emphysema and other respiratory conditions.”

To FOX 11 Meteorologist Rick Dickert, ”That’s the classic LA smog… and it's invisible.”He also says it' dangerous and, And, our

Rick Dickert says it’s can be dangerous and "unhealthy for anybody… even if you’re an unhealthy person it’s not safe to go out and do cardio.”

Fine says, “The best advice on days like this for the heat and the air pollution is if you can… stay indoors.”

“One, for the heat," says Dickert, "Two, for the poor air quality. Keep your doors and windows shut. It’s going to be difficult for people who don’t have air-conditioning.”

And what about those masks we wear for COVID. Good for bad air quality?

Dickert says they can be, but Fine says the particulate making our air bad can gt through some of the cloth masks.

The better masks, especially the N95 variety can help on days like this.

Health officials recommend the following: 

• If outdoor air is bad, try to keep indoor air as clean as possible by keeping windows and doors closed.

• Avoid using air conditioning units that only draw in air from the outside or that do not have a re-circulating option. Residents should check the filters on their air conditioners and replace them regularly. 

• If it is too hot during the day to keep the doors or windows closed and you do not have an air conditioning unit that re-circulates indoor air, consider going to an air-conditioned place, such as a cooling center, to stay cool and to protect yourself from harmful air.

• Do not use fireplaces (either wood burning or gas), candles, and vacuums. Use damp cloths to clean dusty indoor surfaces.

• If you have symptoms of lung or heart disease that may be related to smoke exposure, including severe coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness, contact your doctor immediately or go to an urgent care center. If life-threatening, call 911.

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