A red flag fire warning was issued today across Southern California including Riverside County mountains and San Diego County mountains, among other areas. The warning signaled strong winds and low humidity.
Each year, wildfires threaten people living near, or visiting, wildland areas. Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases, as well as fine particles from burning trees and other materials, which can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. Those at greatest risk from wildfire smoke include people who have heart or lung diseases, older adults, and children.
As the summer begins to heat up in Southern California, take a moment to check out these guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to decrease your family’s risk from wildfire smoke should you live in an affected area.
- Check local air quality reports. Listen and watch for news or health warnings about smoke. Find out if your community provides reports about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI). In addition, pay attention to public health messages about taking safety measures.
- Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Burning candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air.
- Prevent wildfires from starting. Build, maintain and extinguish campfires safely. Comply with local regulations if you plan to burn trash or debris. Check with your local fire department to be sure the weather is safe enough for burning.
- Follow the advice of your doctor about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Consider evacuating the area if you are having trouble breathing. Call for further advice if your symptoms worsen.
- Evacuate from the path of wildfires. Listen to the news to learn about current evacuation orders. Follow the instructions of local officials about when and where to evacuate. Take only essential items with you.
For more tips, please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Wildfires/.