SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Health officials in Santa Barbara County are "very concerned" about the poor air quality created by a blanket of smoke wafting up from the Thomas Fire burning in Ventura County and issued an air quality warning for a second consecutive day.
Santa Barbara County Public Health and Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District announced via email Wednesday morning that air monitoring stations in Goleta and Santa Barbara recorded levels that were "unhealthy" for all to breathe.
The recommendation for people of all ages is NO physical activity outdoors -- the air is that bad.
Lauren Bianchi Klemann, Public Information Officer at the Santa Barbara Unified School District, said that as long as the air quality warning is in place, all outside activity including lunchtime, physical education, team practices and athletic games are canceled.
Klemann said the district is closely monitoring all information coming from health officials and will message parents accordingly.
There are an estimated 15,000 students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.
Donna Lewis, Superintendent of the Goleta Union School District, said that staff is monitoring the county's air quality website on an hourly basis. Based on the numbers they're seeing, teachers are limiting outdoor time for the students in the morning and keeping them indoors in the afternoon.
Lewis said the air quality in Goleta was better Wednesday than it was Tuesday, but winds forecasted to kick up Wednesday night could either improve or worsen the amount of particulates in the air, depending on which way the winds blow.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, schools in both districts will stay open as scheduled through the week.
For more information on local air quality, visit https://www.ourair.org.