Air Quality Is Unhealthy | AQMD Issues Warnings Lasting Several Days

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | The South Pasadenan News | Mission Street Thursday morning during air quality alert. Nearby Bobcat fire grows beyond 24,000 acres.

The BOBCAT wildfire in the mountains above Azusa has exceeded 23,000 acres. The smoke is being blown into the foothill cities, and into Los Angeles areas. The air quality in South Pasadena, Pasadena, Highland Park is severely impacted.

Ash from the fire is falling like a light snow.

The air quality forecast from the AQMD shows the air quality will get worse throughout Thursday & Friday. As of Thursday 10 AM, the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” rating is unmistakable. Many reports are coming to the South Pasadenan from people experiencing stinging eyes, congestion, burning sensation in the nose and throat, and trouble breathing.

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LA County Heath Department advises to stay indoors and keep your windows closed.

The AQMD forecast shows worsting conditions over the next 24-72 hours, depending on the time of day.

South Pasadena Councilmember, and South Coast AQMD Governing Board representative for the 34-city L.A. County Eastern Region Michael Cacciotti explained to The South Pasadenan this morning that the air particulates are of significant concern. The air can been filled with “‘Nano-particles’ smaller than 2.5 microns – which can pass through the body’s front-line defenses and go directly into the bloodstream.”  Cacciotti explained. He was carful to point out that there’s more burning that just wood in the fires and the public should take the bad air quality seriously and protect themselves.

LA Area Air Quality map | AQMD 9-10-2020. South Pasadena & Pasadena Metro areas show unhealthy air due to the Bobcat Fire & weather conditions.


Current Smoke Impacts Both the Bobcat Fire and the El Dorado Fires are producing heavy smoke on Monday afternoon based on satellite imagery, social media posts, and local webcams.

In the past 24 hours, smoke impacts have occurred in Yucaipa, the western Coachella Valley, Santa Clarita, the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, and cities such as Crestline, Running Springs, Lake Arrowhead, and Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains. Many areas of the South Coast Basin have reported falling ash and reduced visibility on Monday due to smoke higher up in the atmosphere, but ground-level PM2.5 concentrations have remained in the Good and Moderate air quality index (AQI) category.

On Monday afternoon, smoke impacts are mainly occurring in the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains; regulatory monitors and low-cost sensors in the San Bernardino Mountains are reporting Unhealthy air quality index (AQI) values.

Visit to view current air quality conditions.

Forecasted Smoke Impacts San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains and the cities of Crestline, Running Springs, and the Big Bear area: Significant smoke impacts with Unhealthy AQI levels are expected to continue until at least mid-day on Tuesday when Santa Ana winds will start transporting smoke towards the southwest.

On Tuesday afternoon, these areas may see some gradual clearing, but smoke transport from other fires in Central and Northern California may still produce smoky skies. Air quality in areas within direct proximity to the Bobcat and El Dorado fires will likely remain poor. The Coachella Valley and Eastern Riverside County: Some smoke impacts are expected overnight and into the morning hours on Tuesday.

The smoke will likely be heaviest in the Western Coachella Valley and the higher elevation areas in Eastern Riverside County such as Joshua Tree National Park. AQI levels could reach Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups or higher.

Most of the smoke should be transported out of the area mid-day on Tuesday when the Santa Ana winds pick up. Cities in direct proximity to the fires such as Sierra Madre, Monrovia, Duarte, Azusa, Glendora, Yucaipa, Mentone, and Redlands: During the overnight hours, downslope winds may bring smoke into these areas.

Mid-day on Tuesday, Santa Ana winds may push smoke towards the southwest and into these regions. Air quality could reach Unhealthy AQI levels in these cities. Portions of Los Angeles County south of the 210 Freeway, Northern Orange County, and the Inland Empire: Smoke impacts are possible starting mid-day on Tuesday when moderate Santa Ana winds enter the region.

There is still considerable forecast uncertainty in the strength of the onshore winds relative to the Santa Anas in the valleys. If the onshore winds are strong enough, smoke from the El Dorado and Bobcat fires will largely be isolated to higher altitudes, yet ashfall may still occur. If the onshore winds are not strong enough, air quality could reach Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups AQI levels in these regions. Overall, meteorological conditions will bring smoke and ash into portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties. Unhealthy or higher AQI levels due to PM2.5 concentrations are possible in areas of direct smoke impacts.

PHOTO: Esteban Lopez | The South Pasadenan News | Mission Street Thursday morning during air quality alert. Nearby Bobcat fire grows beyond 24,000 acres.