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Air quality returns to 'good' nearly three weeks after Station fire began [Updated]

September 14, 2009 |  3:11 pm

As firefighters near total containment of the largest fire in Los Angeles County history, health officials are saying air quality levels have finally returned to “good” for most of the county.

Health officials said the only worrisome areas remain in the immediate vicinity of still burning parts of the Station fire in the Angeles National Forest.

The fire is 87% contained and has burned more than 160,500 acres, fire officials said. Full containment is expected by Saturday. L.A. County’s top health official, Jonathan E. Fielding, still warned people to take precautions, particularly with outdoor activities, “in any area of visible smoke or where there is an odor of smoke,” according to a news release.

A map posted on the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s website that is frequently updated showed this afternoon that all areas had green or “good” levels of air quality. At the fire’s outset, much of the map showed yellow and orange areas that correlated to “moderate” and “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

Public health officials at the time warned sports teams against practicing outside and told others, especially those with ailments, to take serious precautions as large plumes of smoke hovered in several areas of the county.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz