The skies remain clear over the Santa Clarita Valley as the historic 2017 Santa Ana Fire Season rolls into Los Angeles County history.
Emergency workers who spent last week dealing with scores of people displaced by the fires – the Rye Fire in the Santa Clarita Valley, the Creek Fire in Sylmar, the Skirball Fire in the Mulholland Pass — said community response efforts were wrapping up.
If anyone on Monday still needed help, then a representative from one of more than 30 help agencies participating at the assistance center set up specifically for fire victims in Lake View Terrace was assigned to their case, a spokeswoman woman for the assistance center told The Signal Monday.
“We closed down the assistance center Saturday at 4 p.m.,” said Kate Hutton.
“All the resources are still there,” she said, meaning the resources were still available.
More than 400 fire victims showed up at the center last week, she said.
“If they came to the center and they still needed help then they started their own (individual) process with a particular agency, such as the Red Cross.”
On Dec. 12, once the Rye Fire was almost fully contained and the Thomas Fire was confined to the coast, local first responders began dealing exclusively with residents adversely affected by the recent fires and opened up an assistance center.
Officials with Los Angeles County and City of Los Angeles announced last week they were jointly opening a daily Local Assistance Center in Lake View Terrace for fire victims Tuesday through Saturday.
The help efforts were put together with the hope of assisting Los Angeles residents Impacted by Creek, Rye and Skirball Fires.
The Rye Fire which threatened several buildings in the Santa Clarita Valley and prompted the evacuation of businesses and schools, was reported by Calfire to be 100 percent contained Monday, having burned 6,049 acres.
The Thomas Fire, burning in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, was reported by CalFire Monday afternoon to be at 45 percent containment, having burned 270,500 acres.
“We kind of lumped all the fires together,” Jon Myers, spokesman for the Red Cross, told The Signal Monday.
“As far as shelter goes, we’ve taken care of everyone,” he said. “They’ve found some place to go.
“We are, however, working with some individual families left homeless by the Creek Fire,” he said.
The National Weather Service, which for a while posted a high wind warning and red flag warning daily, have forecast a week of sunny weather with moderate breeze and temperatures.
The high wind warnings issued two weeks ago when fires whipped up by desert-to-ocean Santa Ana winds were followed most days by bad air warnings issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Soot and ash
The last “smoke advisory” issued by the department went out Dec. 11, warning of unhealthy air quality declared due to smoke from the Creek Fire and Skirball Fires.
“Our most recent smoke advisory was send Dec. 11, as you note,” a spokeswoman for the department told The Signal Monday.
Concerns about breathing unhealthy air resurfaced Friday when residents on the west side of Santa Clarita Valley reported seeing heavy smoke and soot in the area.
The soot and ash were from the Thomas Fire in Fillmore,
Health officials issued regular warnings about breathing particulate matter caused by fires.
“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 Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County in his warning issued Dec. 11.
“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.”
The Creek Fire, which began Dec. 5, remains at 98 percent contained, having burned 15,619 acres, according to the US Forest Service.
The Skirball Fire, which began Dec. 6, was reported to be 100 percent contained Monday, having burned 422 Acres, according to Calfire.
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