The East Kern Air Pollution District has expanded its air quality alert to the end of the month for East Kern areas and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District continues to advise people to stay indoors.
Smoke from major areas have flowed into Antelope Valley communities including California City, Boron and Mojave, into Tehachapi, Kern River Valley and Ridgecrest, reducing visibility in some areas.
The source of the smoke comes from multiple fires, with the closet one coming from the SFQ Complex Fire in the Sequoia National Forest. The SFQ Complex fire started as two fires, the Castle and Shotgun fires.
The fire, started by lighting strikes on Aug. 24, is estimated to have burned 62,887 acres as of Tuesday, Sept. 8 and was only 7% contained, according to the fire's incident team.
Other major fires in the state include the 8,553-acre Bobcat Fire burning in Angeles National Forest and was considered 8% con tainted as of Sept. 8. The El Dorado Fire near Yucaipa in San Bernardino County was started Saturday morning as the result of a family setting off fireworks for a gender-reveal party. The El Dorado Fire was 16% contained and burned 10,574 acres as of Sept. 8.
The Eastern Kern Air Pollution Control District (District) is recommending that children, older individuals, and those with pre-existing heart and lung problems should avoid outdoor activity, whenever they can smell or see smoke in their immediate area.
Effects can be as mild as a headache; eye, nose or throat irritation; or as serious as triggered asthma episodes or stresses on weakened cardiovascular systems. Adverse health impacts may also be seen in normally healthy individuals, if they are engaged in strenuous outdoor activities during periods of exposure to ground-level smoke.
Sensitive individuals should stay indoors in an air conditioned building with windows and doors closed whenever there is smoke at ground level in their area. Most residential central air conditioning systems re-circulate the air inside the home, so these can be operated normally; however, many commercial buildings and a small percentage of newer homes have mechanical ventilation systems that actively bring in outdoor air, and these should be set to a "re-circulate" mode, if available.
If you are using a window air conditioner it should also be set to the “re circulate” mode. Water or swamp coolers remove only a small portion of the smoke particles from the air that they bring in and provide little protection from the smoke. The District is recommending not use a swamp cooler that if there is smoke present in your area. Whole house fans should not be used until the threat of smoke impacts in your area is gone.