Saddleridge Fire causes hazardous air quality as smoke hovers above San Fernando Valley

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Sunday, October 13, 2019
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Health officials were warning of unhealthy air quality Saturday as firefighters continued to battle the Saddleridge Fire.

PORTER RANCH, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Health officials extended their warning of unhealthy air quality through Sunday morning as firefighters continued to battle the Saddleridge Fire - which left one person dead, burned over 7,900 acres, damaged or destroyed 31 structures and forced about 100,000 people from their homes in parts of northern San Fernando Valley.

Smoke and ash from the Saddleridge Fire, which was 41% contained by Sunday morning, has led to poor air quality.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Saddleridge Fire, other wildfires impacting air quality in SoCal

Some as far south as the Los Angeles International Airport reported smelling smoke from the blaze, which is believed to have started from a Southern California Edison transmission tower just behind one Sylmar resident's home.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory through Sunday morning.

"If you see smoke or see ash due to the fire, we recommend that you remain indoors with windows and doors closed, or seek alternate shelter," said Nahal Mogharabi, South Coast AQMD Director of Communications.

MORE: Time lapse shows fast-moving Saddleridge Fire burning hillside in northern San Fernando Valley

Despite Santa Ana winds diminishing, National Weather Service forecasters noted that humidity levels in the area were expected to remain in the single digits - meaning critically dry conditions that prompted an extension of a red flag warning until 6 p.m. Saturday.

A man in his 50s died in connection to the aggressive brush fire that has scorched over about 7,542 acres and forced the evacuation of 25,000 homes as flames ripped through residential areas. Officials say 13 homes were deemed a total loss and the rest sustained varying degrees of damage, while Los Angeles fire officials said the greatest area of impact on homes lost in Porter Ranch.