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Pushed by heavy winds, ash from this summer's Zaca Fire poured into the South Coast on Saturday, leaving Santa Barbara's air unhealthy to breathe and everything else covered with a layer of soot.

Paul Wellman

Pushed by heavy winds, ash from this summer's Zaca Fire poured into the South Coast on Saturday, leaving Santa Barbara's air unhealthy to breathe and everything else covered with a layer of soot.


Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Zaca Fire Ash, Dust Returns for Christmas


(Above: A photo of the previous ash storm.)

Though the official end of fire season has been declared, memories of this year’s raging Zaca Fire linger - literally, in the form of ash and dust suspended in the air by wind. Some residents may have noticed the sky taking on a grayish color. It’s not a new fire, but only gusty conditions sending particulate matter back up into the air. A similar event happened just before Halloween as well. “The County Fire Chiefs have not declared a Red Flag Alert with restrictions since local conditions do not yet dictate the need to,” said Zaca Fire spokesman Capt. Eli Iskow in a press staement. “The sustained winds and gusts in counties to our south are predicted to be more severe than here in Santa Barbara County.” A different statement from the Air Pollution Control District warned citizens to avoid the unhealthy air as much as possible.

Residents are advised to be cautious and use common sense to protect your family’s health,” the statement read. “People with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults and children should limit time spent outdoors, and limit prolonged or heavy exertion.”

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