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Smokey Southland Skies Caused By Wildfires Burning In Northern And Central Calif. Spur Air Quality Concerns

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A milky brown blanket of drift smoke hovered in the skies above the southland Thursday.

"Yeah, seriously, if you look at the sun, it's orange," said Upland residents Rebecca Chavez and Laila Abdalla.

In some places, the smoke was so heavy and widespread that many residents thought there might be another wildfire burning in the Angeles National Forest. The smoke, however, is drifting in from multiple fires burning in the Southern Sierra.

Windy Fire
Time-lapse footage of smoke from the Windy Fire in Sequoia National Forest.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection captured time-lapse video of smoke swirling above the Windy Fire in the Sequoia National Forest.

Orange County fire crews working that fire caught harrowing footage of towering flames flanking the road.

Told where the smoke was originating from Chavez and Abdalla seemed surprised.

"Yeah, that's really far," Addalla said.

Chavez said a trip that she was supposed to take to Sequoia National Forest was cancelled as a result of the fire.

"So, it was really sad," she said.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Smith said it was the perfect storm of wind and smoke that brought dark skies to the southland.

"It just was the way that the orientation of the trough being right over the Great Basin," Smith said. "Yeah, perfect storm of wind direction and smoke being there."

The South Coast Air Quality Management District said the smokey air is unhealthy for people with breathing problems, but is not a danger to most people.

"Fortunately, right now, most of that smoke is in the upper atmosphere," Scott Epstein with South Coast AQMD said.

Mountain and foothill communities are experiencing the highest levels of smoke, according to Epstein, who named the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains.

As for the two Upland residents, they say smokey skies are nothing new in their community.

"It's something we're used to because every summer we have fires around," Chavez said.

Fire officials on Thursday also assured residents that smoke seen in the Los Angeles basin is from wildfires burning in North and Central California and urged people not to call 911.

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