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Warning issued for risk of ‘unhealthy’ air quality as Canyon Fire 2 rages on

By in Press Enterprise on October 10, 2017

By Deepa Bharath

As firefighters continued to battle a ferocious wildfire, area residents said they were struggling to deal with poor air quality.

While most schools in the area were closed as a result of Canyon Fire 2, which had burned 7,500 acres as of early Tuesday afternoon, several remained open Tuesday leaving parents confused and conflicted.

Orange resident Anna Intemann said she kept her 15-year-old daughter home from Villa Park High School because she is worried about the poor air quality from the fire’s smoke. Her younger daughter attends Anaheim Hills Elementary, which was evacuated Monday and remained closed Tuesday.

“It’s really bad out there,” Intemann said. “My older daughter went to school (on Monday) and she was choking. Her eyes were burning and she was struggling to breathe. Even if they keep students indoors, in high school, you are outside a lot going from class to class.”

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory Tuesday morning for Anaheim Hills, Orange and Tustin warning that air quality may reach “unhealthy” levels in areas directly affected by the smoke.

Regardless of where you live, if you see or smell smoke, it’s best to be safe and head indoors, said AQMD spokesman Sam Atwood.

“Our noses are one of the best indicators and sometimes, much more sensitive than the most sophisticated instruments,” he said. “If you can smell smoke, you should not be outside.”

Those with health conditions such as asthma, eczema, bronchitis and heart disease, as well as vulnerable populations such as the elderly and young children, should limit their time outdoors, Atwood said.

People who are generally healthy should avoid walking, jogging or exercising outdoors and watch for symptoms such as coughing, headache and sinus congestion, he said.

The AQMD smoke alert will be in effect until air quality improves and that could depend on the wind, […]    

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