SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District issued an Air Quality Watch for Santa Barbara County, including the Channel Islands. Smoke and ash from the Alisal Fire could affect local air quality. Strong winds, locally and across the state, are also stirring up dust and ash into the air. This is a dynamic situation, and local air quality conditions can change quickly. All Santa Barbara County residents are encouraged to stay alert to local conditions by visiting www.ourair.org/todays-air-quality or fire.airnow.gov.
Levels of smoke and particles, and areas affected, will vary. If you see or smell smoke in the air, be cautious and use common sense to protect your and your family’s health. Everyone, especially people with heart or lung conditions, older adults, pregnant women, and children, should limit time spent outdoors and avoid outdoor exercise when high concentrations of smoke and particles are in the air.
When air quality reaches unhealthy levels, and/or if you see or smell smoke, we recommend that everyone:
• Head indoors and remain indoors, as much as possible;
• Avoid strenuous outdoor activity;
• Close all windows and doors that lead outside to prevent bringing additional smoke inside; • Avoid driving when possible and use “recycle” or re-circulate mode to avoid drawing smoky air into the car;
• Drink plenty of fluids to keep respiratory membranes moist; and,
• If you are an essential worker and must work outside during wildfire smoke conditions, the use of a properly fitted N-95 mask provides protection.
When wildfire smoke is affecting your area, create a “clean air room” to keep indoor air quality safe. The best protection against wildfire smoke is to stay indoors as much as possible when smoke is present. For information on different ways to create a “clean air room,” click here.
If you have symptoms that may be related to exposure to smoke and soot, contact your doctor. Symptoms include repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.