Thick smoke from Alisal Fire prompts air quality warning for Los Angeles

Photo: Gephardt Daily

Oct. 14 (UPI) — Dense smoke produced by Southern California’s first major wildfire of the season prompted air quality warnings for Los Angeles and several other nearby counties on Thursday.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a special air quality advisory for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties warning that smoke from the Alisal Fire burning near Santa Barbara, Calif., would worsen during the day.

Coastal areas near and north of Santa Barbara will experience unhealthy air quality while greater Los Angeles will see air quality ranging from good to “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” the agency said.

After starting Monday afternoon, the fire quickly grew to nearly 17,000 acres by Thursday with only 5% containment. Crews on its western edge were working to keep the blaze from jumping across Hwy. 101 at Gaviota, Calif., according to Los Padres National Forest officials.

Portions of the state’s main coastal highway remained closed due to the fire and halted Amtrak service. Evacuations were triggered in Arroyo Hondo Canyon, Refugio Canyon and the area between El Capitan Beach State Park and West Camino Cielo on Wednesday.

The blaze has also endangered Rancho del Cielo, the 688-acre ranch known as the “Western White House” as the former vacation home of President Ronald Reagan.

Weather forecasters said conditions favorable for wildfires will continue over the next few days, including higher temperatures, continued strong winds and extremely low humidity. The National Weather Service posted a red flag warning effective from 6 a.m. Friday through 8 p.m. Saturday for much of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.


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