SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has issued an Air Quality Watch for the county effective immediately until conditions with the Rey Fire change.

Health officials say smoke from the Rey Fire may affect the air quality in the Santa Ynez Valley and other parts of the county, depending on the winds and weather conditions.

Health officials advise anyone who see and smell smoke in the air to be cautious and use common sense. Everyone, particularly those with a heart or lung condition such as asthma, older adults, and children, should limit their time outdoors to protect their health.

Changing weather conditions have already shifted the smoke towards populated areas.

The Public Health Department encourages everyone to limit outdoor exercise, or avoid it altogether, when high concentrations of smoke and particles are in the air.

Contact your health care provider if you experience symptoms related to exposure to smoke and soot. These may include:

  • Repeated coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • chest tightness or pain
  • Palpitations
  • and Nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness

Residents are also advised not to use leaf blowers or do any activities that will stir ash and particles up into the air as the fire continues.

Health officials also recommend the following regarding fired during hot weather:

During hot weather, use your best judgment when it comes to keeping your home cool when there is smoke in your area. 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 have a whole house fan, turn it off unless it is extremely hot. If smoke is not present where you live, take the opportunity to air out your home.