Wildfire

Poor air quality from Alamo Fire a big concern for people with breathing conditions

County advising public to limit outdoor activity

Poor air quality from Alamo Fire a...

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Smoke still fills the sky above the Santa Maria Valley five days since the start of the Alamo Fire.

Since exploding into the largest current fire in California, the blaze has burned nearly 29,000 acres and remains just 20 percent contained.

The fire has created all kinds of issues, including hazardous breathing conditions for many like Tiffany Beaudet.

"I have asthma and I was diagnosed with it being allergic to smoke," said Beaudet. "This affects me a lot and little things like when the wind blows it just right the smell of it, I start to get sinus headaches, I start to get really bad running nose, I start to get the bad pressure under the eyes, really bad migraines and you the tightness in the chest and wheeziness and you start to panic because you feel like you can't breathe."

The smoke, which was especially problematic over the weekend, has been a big concern for the Orcutt resident since the Alamo Fire first broke out.

"It's just kind of changed the way I've been living my life a little bit and not for the better and it's just gotten a little bit like a hermit," Beaudet said.

As smoke and ash continues to linger in the atmosphere, the Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District and Public Health Department are re-issuing an air quality warning.

"Right now we're at the moderate level and basically it's considered acceptable, however, as we high level of particulate matter from the two different wildfires, everyone needs to be paying attention to the air quality condition," said Air Pollution Control Officer Aeron Arlin Genet.

Genet emphasized physical activity outdoors should be curtailed especially when you can see or smell smoke.

"We're urging everyone to take caution and use common sense to protect yourself, as well as your family's health," said Arlin Genet. "We have the information on our website that provides the daily air quality index throughout the entire county, so you can go and see if we're still in the moderate category or have moved up to unhealthy for sensitive groups."

Similar conditions persist in San Luis Obispo County, where the Alamo Fire originated.

In the South County, places like Nipomo are experiencing the same "moderate" reading for the state air quality index, with particulate matter still above normal.

An air quality alert first issued by the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District and County Health Department on Friday remains in effect.

While smoke is visible in sky, conditions have improved since the fire roared to life on Friday afternoon. The improvement in air quality is a welcome sight for Beaudet.

"Today hasn't' been as bad," Beaudet said. "The wind has been blowing here on the north side of town pretty good, so it hasn't been bad. I haven't had to use my inhaler today."

She's using that as a positive sign that the Alamo Fire and its smoke will hopefully end soon.

"I miss being able to go outside," said Beaudet. "So i just hope that it's something that gets contained soon so we can go about going about our daily lives again."

For the latest information on Santa Barbara County air quality visit: www.ourair.org

For the latest information on San Luis Obispo County air quality, visit: www.slocleanair.org


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