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Air quality at hazardous levels in foothill cities

Airquality The Angeles National Forest fire has reduced air quality to hazardous levels in foothill communities in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, officials say.

The cities of Altadena, La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta are directly affected by the smoke, as are the Los Angeles communities of Tujunga and Sunland.

The area Sunday recorded an air Quality index of 398. Anything above 100 is considered unhealthful, officials said.

"It's been a long time since we've recorded an [index] of this high a level," said Sam Atwood, spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Dense smoke tends to settle into valleys when there is no wind. Some of the smoke was expected to be swept into the mountains by ocean breezes this morning, Atwood said.

"It's really time for people with heart and lung disease -- bronchitis, asthma, emphysema -- to think about leaving to a less smoky area," Atwood said.

-- Corina Knoll

Photo: Jennifer DeLeon of Littlerock works to keep a mask on the face of her 8-month-old daughter, Emily Magana, as they prepare to board the 206 Metrolink Train at the Vincent Grade-Acton Station early Monday morning for a doctor's appointment in downtown Los Angeles. The mask was provided by a Metrolink supervisor.

Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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Today is Sept 2, 2009 and the air quality is still very poor. Kudos to the 4,100 plus firefighters working on the Station Fire -- thank you for protecting our community!!!
Dr Reese Halter is a conservation biologist, TV host and author

It is frustrating how difficult it is to get clear, consistent and timely information about the air quality in Los Angeles, especially from the Southern California AQMD page itself. Why isn't there an easy way for people living in the middle of this unhealthy situation to check on the air quality in a timely manner? The AQMD page for Los Angeles is difficult to find, read, and is consistently a day behind. Not exactly helpful if one wants to be proactive about taking care of their lungs. It was the same way two years ago when Griffith Park was burning. Hard to believe the consistently poor reporting is not some intentional and misguided attempt to protect tourism, or who knows what?

What's the air quality like in Pacific Palisades?


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