CALIFORNIA CITY — Smoke continues to choke California City skies as the East Kern Air Pollution Control District issued a hazardous air alert for East Kern communities on Thursday, Aug. 20, including California City, Mojave and Rosamond areas as smoke continues to hang in the air from nearby fires.

According to the alert, smoke from several fires, including the Lake Fire around Lake Hughes in Los Angeles County, continues to contribute to the pollution.

The air district advises that children, older adults and anyone with heart and lung problems avoid outdoor activity so long as they can smell or see smoke in the air.

Effects from the smoke range from mild reactions such as headaches or eye, throat and nose irritation to symptoms such as asthma attacks or weakened cardiovascular systems.

The air district also recommended people run only centralized air conditioners during the heat. A/C units recirculate air and keep smoke out of homes. Window units should be set to "re-circulate" mode. Unfortunately, the air district noted, swamp or water coolers remove only a small portion of smoke particles from the air and provide little protection.

Resources are spread thin around the state as firefighters combat 370 fires, including more than 20 major ones in all parts of the state.

High winds, thunder storms, a scorching summer heat and dry brush and trees have fueled the spread of the fire.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Aug. 18 declared a state of emergency over the fires and secured federal assistance to help combat some of the larger ones, including the massive LNU Lightning Complex fire in the San Francisco Bay Area.

For the Lake Fire near Lake Hughes, firefighters had it 52% contained as of Friday morning, as it consumed more than 28,900 acres.

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