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SCV: Where you can see the air you breathe

South Coast Air Quality Management says foul air caused by fireworks, high temperatures

Posted: July 8, 2008 1:15 a.m.
Updated: September 8, 2008 5:02 a.m.
The fireworks might be over, but the dust from the Fourth of July has yet to settle.

With sweltering temperatures expected to heat up the Santa Clarita Valley this week, Monday’s air quality for the Santa Clarita Valley was listed as unhealthy for “sensitive groups,” according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The air quality is expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups today as well.

Last weekend’s firework shows may have contributed to the poor air quality.

“Fireworks greatly affect the pollutants in the air,” said Kent Field, spokesman for the Air Pollution Control District in Ventura. He also said the hazy and unhealthy air can be attributed to a high pressure system moving into California.

“It’s not so much the heat, it’s certain weather patterns,” Field said. “We have a high pressure system moving into California ... which will peak in intensity over the next few days.

The air is stagnant and the pressure holds the air close to the ground, which is why you see the hazy air.”
Fireworks contribute to a higher number of fine particle pollution, which, when combined with a high pressure system, remains stagnant, said Cheryl Heying, air quality director for the Utah Division of Air Quality.

“Traditionally, the air monitors record high concentrations of fine particulate pollution associated with fireworks displays after the Fourth of July,” she said.

The Air Quality Index rating, which is used the air quality management district to forecast air quality, was at 129 Monday, and is expected to reach 147 today. Locations posting an index rating of 151 or higher are designated “unhealthy,” while locations with a rating between 101 and 150 are designated “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” Areas with a rating of 201 or more are designated “very unhealthy.”

Only three locations — Perris Valley, East San Bernardino Valley and the Central San Bernardino Mountains — had higher Air Quality Index ratings on Monday. All three areas were listed as unhealthy, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Officials advised anyone in the Santa Clarita Valley with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory disease to minimize outdoor activities throughout the day.

Also, children with sensitive conditions attending school or a summer camp today should not participate in any outdoor physical activity and are urged to stay indoors as much as possible. Sensitive conditions include heart disease, asthma, other chronic respiratory diseases, according to the county Department of Public Health.

If the air remains unhealthful throughout the week, then the South Coast Air Quality Management District will continue to issue air quality alerts.

As if dirty air wasn’t bad enough, the National Weather Service Monday forecast temperatures topping out in the triple digits all week.

Senior meteorologist Todd Hall said daytime highs through the week should be around 105 with overnight lows in the upper 60s to low 70s.

“It’s gonna be hot,” he said.

To deal with the heat this summer, two public cooling centers have been set up in the Santa Clarita Valley, including one at William S. Hart Park, at the corner of Newhall Avenue and Main Street, and the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, at 22900 Market Street.


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