Santa Clarita Valley clouded by poor air quality due to nearby fires

Poor air quality as seen looking south west from Ermine Street, with Golden Valley Road in the foreground, near the Bella Vida Senior Center in Santa Clarita. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Santa Clarita Valley residents awoke Tuesday morning to a yellow hue in the sky due to poor air quality being created by nearby fires.

As soot and ash was seen on peoples’ driveways, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department issued a smoke advisory on Tuesday, warning residents of the dangers that can come from excessively breathing in an unhealthy level of smoke.

The advisory, which included the Santa Clarita Valley as well as a handful of other surrounding communities, was the result of the Lake and Ranch Fires.

Poor air quality as seen looking south/west from above Canyon Country High School. Dan Watson/The Signal

Residents who belong to at-risk groups, such as children, the elderly or those with underlying health conditions have been asked to safeguard their health and stay indoors.

“These precautions include avoiding unnecessary outdoor exposure and limiting physical exertion (whether indoor or outdoor), such as exercise,” said the press release from the Public Health Department. “Children and people who have air quality sensitive conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, and other chronic respiratory diseases, 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 smell of smoke.”

Wildfire smoke can also be damaging to those not at-risk, according to officials, who said the smoke is a mixture of small particles, gasses and water vapor.

Poor air quality – Whites Canyon Road weaves off in the distance as seen looking south from above Canyon Country High School football field. Dan Watson/The Signal

“Small particles are the primary health concern. These small particles can cause burning eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, headaches, and illness (i.e., bronchitis),” said the release. “In people with sensitive conditions, they can cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, fatigue, and chest pain.”

People were told to be especially cautious, if they are indoor, of air conditioning units that draw air from the outside, and to make sure windows and doors leading outside are firmly shut.

“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,” officials said.

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