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Air quality at hazardous levels in foothill cities

August 31, 2009 |  9:32 am

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