Photos: Air quality warning in effect as smoke, ash drift from Valley Fire


SAN DIEGO — Officials warned residents about air quality issues Sunday as smoke and ash from the Valley Fire drifted across the county and conditions were compounded by an oppressive heat wave.

While San Diego’s Air Pollution Control District said most residents in areas where the smoke is not heavy should not face serious health concerns, they told people who can smell smoke when they step outside to limit outdoor activity.

Click here for updates on the Valley Fire.

People in areas closest to the fire — which is burning in rural communities near Alpine in East County — are seeing heavier amounts of smoke and ash, and they should stay indoors, close their windows and limit time outside, officials said.

“In areas of heavy smoke, assume that air quality levels (range from) unhealthy for sensitive groups to unhealthy for all individuals,” the Pollution Control District said on their website. “In areas with minor smoke impacts, assume that air quality levels range from moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups.

“In areas where you smell smoke it is advised that you limit physical/outdoor activity.  If possible, stay indoors to limit your exposure to fine particulate matter and ozone, especially those residents with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children.”

Read more on the agency’s website.

Plumes of smoke from the blaze could be seen for miles around the county Saturday and Sunday as firefighters dealt with extreme heat while trying to control the flames. As of Sunday morning, the Valley Fire had scorched at least 4,000 acres, according to Cal Fire.

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