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Public Schools, Outdoor Facilities in Santa Monica Re-Open but Smoke Advisory Continues
By Niki Cervantes
December 8, 2017 -- Santa Monica’s public schools reopened Friday -- although their counterparts in Malibu remained closed -- as authorities and the public waited see if the capricious Santa Ana winds would blast the air with more smoke and ash from outside wildfires.
City of Santa Monica outdoor facilities and fields also reopened Friday. The CREST after school programs, however, scheduled only limited programming.
Also on Thursday, the City’s Fire Department announced it had deployed a safety patrol the night before and into the morning to monitor for fire and embers.
“This was a preventative measure,” said SMFD Fire Captain Patrick Nulty. “It’s important that residents stay vigilant and take measures to dispose of combustible material around their homes and stay alert of the current conditions.”
Air quality in Santa Monica and Northwest Coastal LA County “maintained at an acceptable level according to AQMD (Air Quality Management District),” the City said Thursday evening.
A wind advisory remained in effect until 4 p.m. today, and a Red Flag Warning i was to remain until Sunday at 8 p.m.
But all eyes were on the multiple wildfires still active in the region, especially one that was still largely uncontained around the Sepulveda Pass.
For Santa Monica, though, simple breathing still depends on the whim of the Santa Ana winds.
“Smoke conditions could worsen if winds change directions,” the City said Thursday in a late afternoon update of the situation.
Santa Monica College resumed all classes, services and programs on its campuses Friday, citing the progress made on the Skirball fire.
Limited progress also had been made by late Thursday on the Creek fire, which erupted near Sylmar Tuesday at about 4 a.m. and is blamed for the smoke-and-ash plume crept in and over Santa Monica a few hours later.
It was 10 percent contained. So far it has consumed nearly 13,000 acres in the foothills of Angeles National Forest, reaching as far as Sunland-Tujunga. Up to 150,000 people have been forced by the fire to leave.
For information on the Skirball Fire, check www.lacity.org for the latest evacuation maps and repopulation plans.
Officials continued to urged people to avoid using air conditioning units that only draw air from the outside or that do not have a re-circulating option.
Residents should check the filters on their air conditioners and replace them regularly. Indoor air filtration devices with HEPA filters can further reduce the level of particles that circulate indoors.
If it is too hot during the day to keep the doors or windows closed, residents who do not have an air conditioning unit that re-circulates indoor air should consider going to an air-conditioned public place, such as the City’s libraries, which remain open during regular hours.
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