Recent local fires in Los Angeles county and the surrounding areas have contributed to a smoke advisory by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for some areas of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Department of Public Health advises that “If you can see smoke, soot, or ash, or you can smell smoke, pay attention to your immediate environment and take precautions to safeguard your health.” Smoke and ash contribute to unhealthy air quality and that can be harmful to people, even those who are healthy. The unhealthy air is generated from the wildfire smoke’s mixture of small particles, gases, and water vapor. Small particles are the primary health concern. Children and older adults, people with heart or lung disease should take immediate precautions. The unhealthy air can cause burning eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, headaches, and respiratory illnesses. In people with sensitive conditions, it can cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, fatigue, and chest pain. If you have heart or lung disease and/or experience any symptoms beyond these listed above or which are drastically worse, such as chest tightening or shortness of breath, you should see immediate health attention. Learn more from the USC Environmental Health and Safety office.