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Los Angeles (USA), Sep 15 . .- A fire that is advancing in the Los Angeles National Forest (USA), northeast of the city, has put local authorities on alert for its proximity and the amount of air pollution that has greatly affected the quality of Los Angeles air.

The fire, dubbed « Bobcat » by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), has burned more than 16,600 hectares, or about 41,200 acres, in the week that it has been active, and has only been contained in a 6 %.

Authorities have defined it as an « unusual » threat that has evaded firefighters and threatened local communities, even though it has not burned houses or caused injuries so far.

IMPACT ON AIR QUALITY

In addition to the deployment of firefighters, one of the first measures taken by the unit in charge of controlling air quality in Los Angeles County was to launch a smoke alert, directed especially to the inhabitants of Arcadia, a city of 60,000 inhabitants located in the angelina metropolis.

The fire has contributed to days of terrible air quality in Los Angeles, where residents have reported strong burning odors and a layer of dusty haze, according to the local Los Angeles Times.

The mayor of the city, Eric Garcetti, warned in a message on social networks that the climate crisis « is at our doorstep. »

« The climate crisis is not a distant threat, it is here at our doorstep. How we rise to face it will determine our own survival. We are committed to a green deal in Los Angeles and its promise of equity and sustainability. And we need federal solutions now, « he said, referring to US President Donald Trump.

Trump visited California on Monday and said that the state needs « good and strong forest management », something he recalled that it is something he has been asking for for three years, in reference to local authorities, mostly Democrats.

When asked by journalists whether he believed that climate change was a factor in the declaration and rapid spread of these devastating fires, he replied that « many things are possible », and when he was later asked this question again, his reply was that « the cold will come » soon.

MORE THAN 16,000 FIRE FIGHTERS AT WORK

Beyond the situation in Los Angeles, some 16,000 firefighters are working throughout California to try to prevent the strong winds expected for the next few hours from further uncontrolled the fires, in which at least they have already died some thirty people since mid-August and tens of thousands remain evacuated.

A fire near Los Angeles worries authorities because of its proximity

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« Yesterday, activity increased in several of the wildfires, while in other fires, crews continued their progress toward containment: Firefighters were able to contain two major wildfires while continuing to respond to 33 wildfires across the state. « Cal Fire noted in its morning update.

Experts agree in blaming an amalgam of reasons that include both global warming (less rain, more dryness and very high temperatures) and forest management, in addition to the increase in human presence in traditionally unpopulated areas, which means that, when are declared, these fires prove much more dangerous.

Generally, the worst of California’s fire season doesn’t come until October, but the state has already recorded more than 1.2 million hectares burned, a record, according to figures from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

THE SMOKE REACHES THE EAST COAST AND EUROPE

Unprecedented plumes of smoke rising from the fires on the West Coast are being trapped in the atmospheric jet stream and carried across the United States, the National Weather Service reported Tuesday.

« This morning’s satellite imagery shows airborne smoke moving over much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, » the Baltimore-Washington weather service bureau tweeted today.

The office explained that this smoke « is obscuring the sun and will keep temperatures a few degrees cooler today than what would be observed if the smoke were not present. »

In fact, smoky and hazy conditions have been reported this week in New York, Boston and even Maine.

In recent times, the smoke even reached Europe, mainly the Netherlands, Germany and Spain, according to reports from local institutions.

Last Friday, a tongue of smoke from the fires in California passed through the Iberian Peninsula, crossed the entire Ebro valley from the Cantabrian Sea to its mouth in the province of Tarragona and, once in the Mediterranean, reached the Balearic Islands, from according to the Catalan meteorology service Meteocat.

Alex Segura Lozano

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