Frequent SoCal brush fires may be producing unhealthy air

BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- Some doctors worry that frequent brush fires and the resulting ash and smell of flames continue to produce unhealthy air across the Southland.

Dignity Health Pulmonologist Dr. Eli Hendel said smoke particulates mixed with heat and the area's existing air pollution can be a dangerous mix.

"The elements that you cannot smell or sense are carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide and can penetrate inside and bind to the blood cells and interfere with the transportive oxygen," he said.

The elderly, children and people suffering from lung problems such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, can be the most susceptible.

"It is particularly a problem with children who have developing lungs and are still developing the defenses," added Dr. Hendel.

John Debney lives just north of Wednesday's brush fire in Burbank. Winds brought smoke right over his head.

"It was like a roaring campfire," he said.

Debney claimed he was doing well after the blaze. He said his firefighter friend told him what to do during the brush fire.

"He said 'close all your windows, close all the doors,' so we were actually pretty safe from the smoke," said Debney.
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