Smoke-Filled Air Blankets Town


The city of Laguna Beach issued multiple bulletins to residents on Friday to allay fears about smoke blanketing the city from fires burning in San Diego County, though air quality improved by midday as prevailing winds shifted the smoke’s direction.

The city’s police department received 106 calls between 2 and 6 a.m. this morning, said Capt. Jason Kravetz, adding that the department issued the smoke advisories after receiving them from the Orange County Emergency Operations Center. “The various county police and fire departments are receiving a tremendous amount of calls from concerned citizens,” he said.

In morning email and phone announcements, city officials tried to tamp down fire fears by letting residents know that no fires were burning in Laguna Beach or elsewhere in Orange County.

Smoke from multiple fires burning in north San Diego County started drifting into open windows locally around 1:30 a.m.

Due to air quality deemed unhealthy for sensitive persons, the Air Quality Management District issued an advisory for all of Orange County and parts of Riverside and Los Angeles counties for Friday, May 16, urging residents to stay indoors and keep windows closed.

Students of Top of the World Elementary were kept off the playground on Friday during recess and lunch. “Eye-stinging” filled homes in the TOW area in the early morning hours, one resident reported.

“Just want to let you know there is a fire burning behind San Clemente and the smoke is very visible from our campus,” TOW Principal Ron LaMotte said in an email to parents. “We are keeping kids away from viewing the smoke as they may get anxious not knowing where it is. I made an announcement over the PA to reassure them that we are all very safe at TOW and not to worry. Have a safe weekend.”




Ron La Motte


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