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4th Of July Fireworks Caused LA’s Air Quality To Crash

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<A HREF="https://unsplash.com/photos/1i8xRkE8gXo">Jeffrey Hamilton/Unsplash</a>
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Air quality reached hazardous levels in parts of Southern California on Sunday, as 4th of July pollutants stuck around even longer than usual thanks to stagnant weather conditions Saturday night.

“All the smoke from the fireworks very close to the ground [was trapped],” said Phillip Fine, a representative from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Fireworks, both professional and amateur, emit high levels of metal and other particulates, which can exacerbate respiratory or cardiovascular illness. And fireworks were indeed set off this weekend, despite being illegal in the city of Los Angeles and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s cancellation of public displays.

The L.A. County Fire Department reported its second-busiest day ever on Saturday, with more than 1,600 calls, mostly involving tree, brush and roof fires likely caused by fireworks. The city’s fire department handled nearly 1,800 calls. At one point on Saturday night, the 9-1-1 system was so swamped that the LAPD asked the public not to call about illegal fireworks unless someone was injured, or to report a fire.

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Pollutants from fireworks have been dissipating since Sunday morning, but the South Coast Air Quality Management District still rated the air quality as “moderate to unhealthy.”

Sign up for notifications of bad air conditions, or see a map of air quality in your area here.