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See a brown haze above L.A.? It's dust, not fire

November 29, 2009 |  4:01 pm

That brown cloud above parts of the Los Angeles area this afternoon isn't smoke from a fire, authorities said; it's just ash and dust being kicked up by the wind.

Moderate winds in the San Gabriel Mountains blew dust from the area burned in this summer's Station fire, filling the air above northeast Los Angeles with a brown haze

Air quality officials are monitoring the ash levels and could issue a wind-blown ash advisory if it worsens.

"The recent rains have helped a little bit to keep some of that ash from getting airborne," said Sam Atwood, a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The National Weather Service said light to moderate offshore winds with gusts up to 60 mph will be blowing through the region through Monday, drying out the air and "creating heightened fire weather concerns," but the winds are not expected to persist long enough to create severe fire conditions.

Two small brush fires broke out last week because of heavy winds, one above Glendora, the other in Orange County along the 241 Toll Road.

Air quality officials advised people who see thick clouds of ash or dust to use common sense precautions, such as not exercising heavily and staying inside.

--Tony Barboza