Our record hot temperatures are expected to persist over the next several days and, as often happens during heat waves, a big brush fires are contributing to poor air quality in the area. The La Tuna fire, burning near the Verdugo Mountains by the 210 freeway, is causing local air quality to reach unhealthy levels, especially in areas directly effected by smoke, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The ash from the fire has also been spotted in our neighborhood, on local cars and even the tennis courts at the nearby LA Tennis Club.
While poor air quality is not unusual during summer months in the Southland, the National Weather Service is predicting a heat wave over the Southwest that will last through at least the middle of next week. Those conditions, coupled with predicted atmospheric inversions that trap pollution near the surface, may cause unusually high and persistent levels of poor air quality.
In advisory effective through today, the SCAQMD urged care to “avoid any vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion; people with respiratory or heart disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors. Keep windows and doors closed or seek alternate shelter. Run your air conditioner if you have one and keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. Avoid using a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. To avoid worsening the health effects of smoke, don’t use indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances, including fireplaces.”
Also, the Los Angeles Times reported this morning the La Tuna fire is only 10% contained.
A fast-moving brush fire grew to 5,000 acres in the Verdugo Mountains on Saturday morning, threatening homes and keeping the 210 Freeway closed.
Hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze overnight and into the morning. At one point, the flames were spreading in four directions at once amid intense heat and wild winds. As of 5 a.m., no homes had been lost and no injuries had been reported, officials said.
The National Weather Service has predicted temperatures will reach 110-115 degrees in the hottest metro areas, and hillside areas could experience more of the shifting winds that make it even harder to fight the fire.
The blaze began about 1:30 p.m. Friday in a drainage ditch along the north side of La Tuna Canyon Road, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. KTLA Channel 5 reported during a Saturday news conference, Mayor Eric Garcetti said this has become the largest fire to burn in Los Angeles city history, noting it’s been about 45 years since a fire burned in that particular area.