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Smoke and ash impacting western Riverside County, residents urged to take precautions

Wildfires are burning throughout California, generating smoke and ash that is impacting portions of western Riverside County. Health officials urge residents to take precautions with unhealthy air quality levels. A smoke and ash advisory was issued today, September 8, until further notice.

“Residents in the San Gorgonio Pass and western Riverside County need to be aware of the risks of breathing unhealthy air and take steps to keep safe,” said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer.

While fires are burning throughout California, the nearest blaze, the 10,500-plus-acre El Dorado fire, has directly impacted Riverside County, sending smoke and ash into the area and causing some evacuations near Cherry Valley after igniting in Yucaipa. Predictions of Santa Ana winds have fire officials concerned the fire could continue to grow.

Kaiser recommends that residents who live in areas impacted by smoke and ash avoid strenuous activity, remain indoors with the air-conditioning on and windows and doors closed, and keep the indoor air fresh with a clean filtering system to prevent from bringing smoke inside.

Health officials say that wildfire smoke can cause a range of health issues, which include burning eyes, runny nose, shortness of breath, scratchy throat, headaches, and chest pains. Smoke can also worsen chronic heart and lung disease.

Officials also stress the importance of following evacuation instructions for the safety of all residents living in potential evacuation areas. “We have taken a number of precautions to ensure everyone is safe while they are evacuated,” said Bruce Barton, director of the County of Riverside Emergency Management Department. “In addition to sheltering away from smoke, we implemented expanded precautions to ensure evacuated residents are protected from COVID-19 with screening, physical distancing, sanitation stations and a number of other safety measures.”

For the most current information on the El Dorado Fire, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7148. To sign up for emergency alerts, visit www.rivcoready.org/alertrivCo.

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