Before the evacuation.

Smoke from the Apple Fire billows behind he red barn at the 40-acre Luther Glen Farm on Oak Glen.

Wildfires burning throughout California are generating smoke and ash that is impacting portions of western Riverside County, prompting health officials to urge residents to take precautions with the unhealthy air quality levels.

“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.

The smoke and ash advisory has been issued effective today (Sept. 8) until further notice.

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

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. Safety steps have been taken to protect residents and workers at all evacuation locations.

“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.”

Residents can visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7148/ for the most current information on the El Dorado Fire, and sign up for emergency alerts at www.RivCoReady.org/AlertRivCo.

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