SAN CLEMENTE ( — The second week of summer brings two fires to Orange County, two blazes in the L.A. area, a wildfire in the Inland Empire — and lots of smoke.

A smoke advisory is in effect in parts of Orange County through Friday morning.

Sam Atwood with South Coast Air Quality is encouraging people across the Southland to limit outdoor activity if they see and smell smoke.

“Not exercising vigorously outdoors. And if you have a heart disease or lung disease or asthma or if you have a young child or elderly parent they should stay indoors with the windows closed and air conditioning on to protect from pollutants from wildfire smoke,” said Atwood.

According to Atwood, the department has 40 air monitoring networks that measure pollutants and determine air quality.

“Wildfire smoke contains hundreds of toxic compounds. What we are most concerned about is something called fine particulates, tiny bits of air pollution that are so small they can get deep into your lungs,” said Atwood.

Experts say Hospitals and emergency rooms may see a spike in patients describing breathing issues during fire season.

Orange County On Alert

There was a giant plume of smoke in Ronnie Lott’s Laguna Niguel neighborhood off of La Gracia.

“I saw the flames shooting up,” said Lott. “It’s pretty intense.”

Dry grass burned right below his patio and firefighters worked right outside his fence.

“I called my wife. She wanted me to get the birth certificate. The wedding photos. Fortunately I never had to evacuate,” said Lott.

But others along the ridge did.

In these hot and dry conditions  firefighters said they aren’t taking any chances.

The CHP temporarily closed the eastbound 73 and OC Fire brought in hand crews and water drops — double-teaming even a two-acre fire.

“These guys are hard chargers. When they get to the scene they are on overdrive. They don’t have a first gear,” said a firefighter.

That’s because fire crews don’t want a repeat of the fire down at Camp Pendleton and neighboring San Clemente. The Cristianitos Fire ballooned to 700 acres but is showing signs of slowing down. And the smoke is finally clearing.


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