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Wildfire smoke drifts into Central Coast, affecting air quality

Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-07 20:49:48-04

Smoke from the Mendocino Complex, Turkey and other fires are impacting people here at home.

If you drive along Highway 46 East, you can’t miss the wildfire smoke. As you continue along the highway, it gets even worse, making conditions less than favorable.

"It’s definitely noticeable compared to previous visits where we’ve passed through," said June Salvo, visiting from Bakersfield. "You can definitely tell. You can’t see the surroundings, you can’t see the mountains, you can’t see the hills."

The one-two punch of the smoke and the triple-digit temps brought Salvo and her kids to the water park in Paso Robles on Tuesday.

"We’re here to beat the heat and make one last hoorah before school starts."

The smoke is blanketing some areas more than others, leaving some with little relief. 

"It looks like fog, and it kind of wafts in and then you notice the smell, the sooty smell, the smoke smell, and the way it affects me is it affects my eyes, my eyes start to burn a bit," said John Zamora of San Miguel. 

He says his animals are affected too.

"We hose them down because they can’t handle that type of heat, either, so we’ve been doing that every day."

The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District has issued a couple of heightened smoke alerts for the eastern portion of the county but one thing is for certain across the board: 

"Currently, California has the worst air quality in the nation," said Gary Willey, San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District Executive Director.

If you see ash or smell smoke, it’s recommended you cut back on your outdoor activities.

"If you begin to feel any sort of chest pain, or begin to experience shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, seek medical treatmentm," said Vince Pierucci, San Luis Obispo County Emergency Medical Services Director.

With the wildfire smoke being the lesser of two evils for some: 

"I don’t think it’s going to stop our kids from getting in the water and beating the heat at all," Salvo concluded. 

The Air Pollution Control District adds that those who are used to strenous outdoor activity should limit their time outside too.