See or smell smoke from a wildfire? Take care to protect your lungs

September 24, 2013 | by Nicole White

If you live in an area where you can see or smell smoke from a wildfire, avoid unnecessary outdoor activity to minimize harm from poor air quality.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory today for areas surrounding the 250-acre Madre Fire burning in Angeles National Forest above Azusa, indicating that air quality may reach the “unhealthy” range or worse.

The agency advises all individuals to exercise caution in any area directly impacted by smoke – that is anywhere it can be seen or smelled, in addition to those areas immediately adjacent to the fire.

  • Everyone should avoid any vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion.
  • People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors.
  • Close doors and windows
  • Run an air conditioner if you have one, but do not use swamp coolers or whole-house fans.
  • Don’t use indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances, including fireplaces.
  • Those who cannot avoid smoky areas may be protected by a special N95 or P100 respirator mask worn properly. Regular paper or surgical masks will not protect wearers from smoke, as they cannot filter out the very fine, harmful particles.
Humidity and low winds have been helpful to firefighters, who reported the fire 70 percent contained Tuesday evening. The San Gabriel Mountains, east and west San Gabriel Valley areas, and the west San Bernardino Mountain areas are most likely to be affected by smoke, according to the agency.

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