As the Santa Ana wind-driven fire in Riverside County continues to rage, prompting the evacuation of thousands of residents with thousands of others under evacuation warnings, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued a wildfire smoke advisory for the surrounding areas.  

The Highland Fire in Aguanga, a sparsely populated area east of Temecula, had consumed at least 2,487 acres of dry brush and trees and three structures. As of Tuesday evening, it was only 10% contained, according to Cal Fire

Another six structures have been damaged. 

The fire erupted just after noon on Monday near Highlands and Aguanga Ranchos roads and spread rapidly in the hot and dry desert winds.

Some 1,300 homes have been evacuated as a result of the fire. A searchable map of the evacuation areas affected can be found by following this link.

South Coast AQMD officials issued the wildfire smoke advisory, which runs until Thursday morning, as dry and windy conditions push smoke from the Highland Fire west and southwest toward Temecula and San Clemente, creating air quality index levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups.  

“Air quality may be worse in areas immediately adjacent to the fire,” AQMD officials added.  

wildfire smoke advisory
A map shows areas of potential direct smoke impact. (AQMD)

Residents in areas directly impacted by smoke are encouraged to: 

  • Limit exposure to smoke by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed or seek alternate shelter 
  • Avoid exercise and vigorous activity 
  • Run the air conditioner and or air purifier. If possible, do not use swamp coolers or whole house fans that bring in outside air 
  • Avoid burning wood in your fireplace or firepit and minimize sources of indoor air pollution such as candles, incense, pan-frying and grilling 
  • If you must be outside, wear a properly fitting N95 or P100 respirator for protection.  

More information and health safety tips for the wildfire smoke advisory can be found by following this link.