Air Pollution from Laguna Niguel Coastal Fire

Thank you to the brave firefighters who worked exhaustively to control the #CoastalFire that began yesterday afternoon as they continue to douse embers to prevent it from sparking more fires within #LagunaNiguel, Laguna Beach and Dana Point communities. In an area full of homes and small businesses, the damage could have been much worse but currently constrained to under 200 acres and at least 20 homes destroyed. About 900 homes were under mandatory and voluntary evacuations.

The destruction is heartbreaking. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those families whose beautiful homes were lost with all their belongings inside. Although a devastating loss, luckily lives were spared with only one injury reported. We hope that the injured firefighter fully and speedily recovers.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department reported the fire began at 2:44 p.m. PST near the South Orange County Wastewater Authority's Coastal Treatment Plant. It immediately burned through dried brush in Aliso Wood Canyon between Laguna Beach and Laguna Niguel. Ocean winds quickly carried the flames uphill to Aliso Summit Trail and to multimillion-dollar estates of Coronado Pointe gated community.

Air Pollution Caused by Wildfires

The woodsmoke scent of the fire may appear pleasing, but the toxic air quality it brings is not. As per the article by Joseph Knipper on 13 Ways That Disasters Contribute To Air Pollution (Part 1), "woodsmoke releases nearly every type of contaminant there is. According to a 2015 paper from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, "Apart from smoke comprising of unburnt carbon particle, the emission from wild fire [sic] comprises carbon monoxide, ash participles, methyl chloride, methyl bromide, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, aldehydes, VOCs." On top of that, any toxic waste dumped into wilderness areas by bad-faith parties goes up in flames as well, releasing its own unique combination of contaminants."

Unless asked to evacuate by community officials, it is wise to remain indoors with windows and doors closed until the smoke clears. The CDC recommends keeping smoke outside and use air purifiers to remove air pollutants that have entered buildings and homes. Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Stay OC Strong!

Thank you to the Orange County Fire Authority, #MayorofLagunaNiguel - #ElaineGennawey, #5thDistrictSupervisor - #LisaBartlett, Orange County Sheriff's Department and other community leaders who quickly developed a game plan to address the fire and support our coastal communities. We are blessed indeed as many are able to remain in our homes and continue to work within our communities.