Health

Air Quality Warning information

Smoke from local fires impacting counties

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - UPDATE

The Santa Barbara County Health Department and Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District have canceled the Air Quality Warning that was in effect due to the Whittier and Alamo fires.

Officials said some areas of the county may experience slightly hazy conditions and winds can stir up ash over time. Residents are urged to avoid using leaf blowers or doing any activities that could stir up particles into the air.

If you need to pick up ash, public health officials recommend sweeping ash gently with a broom and take cars to a car wash. Everyone should avoid skin contact with ash and no one with heart or lung condictions should handle ash cleanup.

The Alamo Fire is 100 percent contained and the Whittier Fire is nearing full containment. Currently, the Whittier Fire is 76%.

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The aggressive behavior of the Alamo Fire burning in southern SLO County and a part of northern Santa Barbara County as well as the Whittier Fire just off of San Marcos Pass, have prompted public health officials to issue an Air Quality Warning.

The Air Quality Warning is in effect for all areas of the counties directly affected by these two fires.

Levels of smoke, ash and other particles will vary, and elevated levels of ozone--resembling smog--are also occurring in regions throughout Santa Barbara County not just in the immediate zones directly affected by the fires.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution District advise residents to be cautious and use common sense to protect your and your family's health.

Vigilancia sobre la Calidad del Aire para el Norte del Condado de Santa Bárbara

Everyone, especially those with heart or lung conditions, older adults, and children, should limit the time they spend outdoors and avoid outdoor activities such as exercise, especially when high concentrations of smoke and ash are in the air.

If you get symptoms corresponding to smoke, ash, and other particle exposure from the fires, contact your doctor immediately. Symptoms can include: Repeated coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.

Consider purchasing an air-filtering device, which can help remove ash, soot, and dust.

  • Select a device with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.
  • Keep the device in one room that could serve as a “clean air room” — the packaging on most devices notes the suitable room size.

 

Keep windows and doors closed unless it is extremely hot. If you have an air conditioner, run it with the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean.

If you are particularly sensitive to air pollution, and air quality is poor in your area to the extent that you are unable to keep indoor air clean, consider relocating to an area where the air is cleaner.

If you have a whole house fan, turn it off unless it's extremely hot. Avoid using leaf blowers or doing any activities that will stir ash and particles into the air. Even as conditions improve, winds can still stir up ash.

Public officials advise avoiding skin contact with ash and no one with heart or lung conditions should handle ash cleanup.

If smoke is not present where you live, you are advised to take that opportunity to air out your home.


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