The residue of smoke and ash from the summer’s fires combined with higher temperatures are likely to impact Santa Barbara County’s air quality for the next several months. The hot summer may also generate higher levels of ground-level ozone, aka smog, according to the county’s Public Health Department and its Air Pollution Control District.

In California, about a dozen active fires are burning. The close-to-33,000-acre Soberanes Fire just south of Carmel lies 250 miles to our north. At 15 percent containment on Friday, it has destroyed more than 40 homes. About 80 miles to our south is the Sand Fire near Santa Clarita, currently pegged at nearly 39,000 acres and 85 percent contained.

Ash and smog can cause coughing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, and fatigue. The county departments recommend using common sense to avoid smoggy air and to contact a doctor if symptoms occur. More information on current air quality can be found at


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