For Immediate Release:
August 30, 2009
LOS ANGELES - Due to several fires burning in Southern California, air quality continues to be adversely affected in several parts of Los Angeles County. According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), smoke from the Station Fire near La Cañada has caused hazardous air quality in the San Gabriel Mountains and the West San Gabriel Valley. Areas of direct smoke impact include Altadena, La Cañada, Flintridge, La Crescenta, Tujunga, and Sunland. The Los Angeles County Health Officer, Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, urges all individuals in these areas, or areas where there is visible smoke or the odor of smoke, to avoid unnecessary outdoor and indoor physical exertion, such as exercise.
"In all areas of visible smoke or where there is an odor of smoke, all individuals are urged to be cautious and to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities. 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," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and County Health Officer.
Additional areas that may be impacted by smoke include: the Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando Valley, Central Los Angeles County, and East San Gabriel Valley.
Non-school related sports organizations, such as Little Leagues, for children and adults are advised to cancel outdoor practices in areas where there is visible smoke, soot, or ash, or where there is an odor of smoke. This also applies to other recreational outdoor activity, such as hikes or picnics, in these areas.
Throughout Los Angeles County, sensitive individuals, such as those with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory disease, should follow these recommendations and stay indoors as much as possible even in areas where smoke, soot, or ash cannot be seen or there is no odor of smoke.
"It is difficult to tell where ash or soot from a wildfire 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 how it might affect their health," said Dr. Fielding.
People can participate in indoor sports or other strenuous activity in areas with visible smoke, soot, or ash, provided the indoor location has air conditioning that does not draw air from the outside and it has closed windows and doors to protect the cleanliness of indoor air. If not, it is recommended that all individuals follow these guidelines as if they were outside.
The following recommendations will help you protect yourself and your family from harmful effects of bad air quality:
To find a cooling center, call the LA County Information line at 2-1-1 or visit the Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov or visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth.