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West Coast Fires: Where Things Stand And What To Know About SoCal’s Air Quality

An orange smoke-filled sky is seen above Molalla, Oregon, on September 10, 2020, as fires burn nearby.
An orange smoke-filled sky is seen above Molalla, Oregon, on September 10, 2020, as fires burn nearby.
DEBORAH BLOOM/AFP via Getty Images

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The Bobcat Fire burning in the Angeles National Forest is throwing more smoke and ash into the skies above Southern California.

The out-of-control fire, which broke out Sunday above the city of Azusa, more than doubled in size overnight. Evacuation warnings remain in place for several cities and communities in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Crews hope to take advantage of low winds forecasted for the next few days to draw some containment around the flames, and protect nearby foothill communities under evacuation warnings.

The North Complex fire near the small city of Oroville that exploded in wind-driven flames earlier in the week was advancing more slowly Friday after the winds eased and smoke from the blaze shaded the area and lowered the temperature, allowing firefighters to make progress, authorities said. However, the smoke made for poor visibility and fire helicopters couldn’t fly Thursday. Throughout California, red flag warnings of extreme fire danger because of hot, dry weather or gusty winds were lifted. Deadly wildfires in heavily populated northwest Oregon were growing, with hundreds of thousands of people told to flee encroaching flames while residents to the south tearfully assessed their losses. The number of people evacuated statewide because of fires rose to an estimated 500,000 — more than 10 percent of the state’s 4.2 million people, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management reported late Thursday. Today on AirTalk, we discuss where things stand with fires raging across the west coast, what it means for SoCal’s air quality and how to protect yourself. Do you have questions? Call 866-893-5722. 

With files from the Associated Press and LAist


Philip Fine, deputy executive officer for planning and rules with South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD)

David Dantic, captain with the Los Angeles County Fire Department

Lynne Tolmachoff, spokesperson for CAL FIRE; she tweets @911tomahawk

Erin Ross, science reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting, she’s been covering the latest on the wildfires from the Portland area; she tweets @ErinEARoss

Ed Avol, professor of clinical preventive medicine and chief of the environmental health division at USC, his research focuses on the effects of airborne pollutants in populations at risk