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Saddleridge fire continues to burn, begins to affect air quality at UCLA

The Saddleridge fire has continued to burn Saturday, impacting the air quality on campus. A BruinAlert advised sensitive individuals, such as people with pre-existing heart and lung conditions, to avoid strenuous activity outdoors because of unhealthy air conditions Saturday morning. (Jintak Han/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Susan Monaghan

Oct. 12, 2019 3:30 p.m.

A BruinAlert warned students that the air quality is unhealthy for sensitive individuals due to smoke from the Saddleridge fire Saturday morning.

As of Saturday afternoon, the fire is 19% contained and covers 7,552 acres, according to a Los Angeles Fire Department alert. At least 31 structures have been destroyed or damaged and more than 100,000 people have been affected by evacuation orders.

Wind patterns changed over Friday night, causing air to blow south from the San Fernando Valley, said Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck in an email statement. The fire continues to burn and wind gusts up to 40 mph are expected to last until 6 p.m.

Sensitive individuals include people with pre-existing heart and lung conditions, children, the elderly, and pregnant women, according to the BruinAlert.

Westwood’s Air Quality Index is 67 as of 1 p.m., meaning that air quality is moderate, and sensitive individuals should limit strenuous activity outdoors, according to AirNow.gov.

The fire started around 9 p.m. Thursday night, with very low humidity and strong winds in Santa Anna causing it to rapidly expand, said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at a press conference Friday.

Several highways that were partially closed due to the fire have been reopened Saturday morning, including Interstate 5, Interstate 210, Interstate 405 and California State Route 14.

Firefighting aircrafts worked over Friday night to assist firefighters on the ground to help contain the blaze, according to an LAFD alert.

Contributing reports by Jintak Han, senior staff.

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Susan Monaghan
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