Winds are expected to continue bringing smoke from massive wildfires in northern and central California into portions of the South Coast Air Basin, including Riverside County, prompting air pollution regulators to extend an advisory through at least Friday morning.
“While smoke will be present in the upper atmosphere across the region, the greatest impacts on surface air quality are expected in mountain areas and (the) Coachella Valley,” according to a statement issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is the air pollution control agency for major portions of Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties.
In areas affected by wildfire smoke, the Air Quality Index may reach unhealthy levels, according to AQMD officials, who said areas of direct impacts and poor air quality may include Corona-Norco, Metropolitan Riverside County, Perris Valley, Lake Elsinore, Temecula Valley, Anza Valley, Hemet-San Jacinto Valley, San Gorgonio Pass, Coachella Valley and East Riverside County.
The AQMD warned that breathing in fine particulate matter can lead to a wide variety of cardiovascular and respiratory health effects such as heart attacks, asthma aggravation, decreased lung function, coughing or difficulty breathing and may lead to premature death in people with heart or lung disease.
To help keep indoor air clean during periods of poor air quality, the AQMD advises that people close all windows and doors and run an air conditioner and/or an air purifier. If possible, do not use whole house fans or swamp coolers that bring in outside air.
People should also avoid burning wood in a fireplace or fire pit, minimize sources of indoor air pollution such as candles, incense, pan-frying and grilling, and limit the use of gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment.
For more information, visit www.aqmd.gov/.