Air Quality Alert in Santa Barbara County

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) have upgraded the Air Quality Watch to an Alert for Santa Barbara County, including the Channel Islands. Smoke and ash from the Alisal Fire is affecting air quality, and winds in the forecast are expected to push more smoke onshore. 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 using two resources in particular:

  • Check readings available on APCD’s website: ourair.org/todays-air-quality.
    • Our permanent monitoring stations are sophisticated devices that provide reliable readings from regional monitors located throughout the county.
  • Check the EPA Fire & Smoke map: https://fire.airnow.gov/
    • This map shows data from our permanent monitoring stations, as well as from temporary monitors and low-cost sensors. Using multiple data sets, this map allows you to keep tabs on trends in the air quality conditions and see a bigger picture of information. It also displays a smoke plume to show what areas are being affected.

We also encourage people to pay attention to conditions around them. 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 – the best protection against wildfire smoke is to stay indoors as much as possible;
  • Avoid outdoor activity;
  • Close all windows and doors that lead outside to prevent bringing additional smoke inside;
  • Create a “clean air room” to keep indoor air quality safe. Turn on your High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) purifier if possible. For information on different ways to create a “clean air room,” click here.
  • 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.

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.

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