For LA developers and homeowners, smog could be the new wildfire

While conditions have improved in some coastal areas, residents farther inland may see worsening conditions
July 01, 2019 02:00PM

Los Angeles, California (Credit: iStock)

Los Angeles, California (Credit: iStock)

Alongside earthquakes and wildfires, now add smog to the list of growing concerns for Southern California developers and homeowners.

While the region’s infamous smog has improved across the board over the last few decades, the rate has slowed and in some areas, matters are worsening, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Many areas along the coast — where home prices are higher and there are more wealthy residents — are seeing fewer and fewer days of unhealthy ozone pollution. Areas inland aren’t seeing the same improvement.

San Bernardino last year saw 102 days of bad air days for ozone pollution, more than it’s had since the mid-1990s, and has some of the highest rates of asthma in the state.

The disparities are largely because of weather and topography, according to the Times. Winds coming in from the Pacific Ocean push smog inland, which then gets trapped by mountains over cities like San Bernardino.

Warming temperatures in recent years haven’t helped. That has been shown to increase ozone pollution in regions across the country, because higher temperatures accelerate ozone production.

While smog is improving, many parts of the Los Angeles metro area are increasingly vulnerable to wildfires. L.A., itself has more buildings in areas the state considers at high risk of wildfires than any other city in California.

Many wealthy coastal areas, including Woolsey Fire-devastated Malibu, are also considered at high risk.

Around three quarters of Californians want to restrict residential development in wildfire-prone areas. [LAT]Dennis Lynch