The South Coast Air Quality Management District once again extended a smoke advisory Sunday for portions of the Coachella Valley due to a 31-acre debris fire burning in Thermal.

The advisory will be in effect through Monday morning and applies to Thermal, La Quinta, Mecca and communities near the Salton Sea.

The fire is 50% contained and has been burning since Oct. 14 near 66th Avenue and Martinez Road at the Sun Valley Recycling Center. It is expected to continue burning for another two weeks.

Riverside County and Bureau of Indian Affairs fire crews are using heavy equipment, such as bulldozers, excavators and water tenders in their efforts to spread the burning mulch around so that it can cool down.

Northerly winds forecast for Sunday afternoon will push smoke toward Thermal and La Quinta, according to the AQMD. On Sunday evening into Monday morning, winds are expected to come from the northwest, and will push smoke toward the Salton Sea.

Air quality may become unhealthy for sensitive groups in the areas directly impacted by the smoke, and residents in those areas who see ash or smell smoke were advised to stay indoors with windows and doors shut, AQMD officials said.

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