LOCAL CALIFORNIA

Multiple fires are raging in Southern California. A series of Santa Ana wind-driven wildfires have destroyed hundreds of structures, forced thousands to flee and smothered the region with smoke in what officials predicted would be a pitched battle for days.

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Avoid outdoor physical exertion because of bad air from fires, health officials say

Smoke from four wildfires raging across Southern California has resulted in unhealthy air quality across the San Fernando Valley, along with coastal areas and surrounding portions of Los Angeles County.

All people in those areas should avoid unnecessary outdoor exposure and limit all physical exertion, said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the county's interim health officer.

“It is difficult to tell where ash or soot from a fire will go, or how winds will affect the level of dust particles in the air, so we ask all individuals to be aware of their immediate environment and take actions to safeguard their health,” Gunzenhauser said.

“Smoke and ash can be harmful,'' Gunzenhauser said, especially for vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, children, people with asthma or individuals with other respiratory or heart conditions.

Throughout the county, sensitive individuals should stay indoors as much as possible -- even in areas where smoke, soot, or ash cannot be seen or there is no odor of smoke, Gunzenhauser said.

“We are also advising schools that are in session in smoke-impacted areas to suspend outside physical activities, including physical education and after-school sports, until conditions improve,'' Gunzenhauser said.

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