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A blanket of smoke returns to the Central Coast, air quality alerts issued

Posted at 5:47 PM, Oct 01, 2020

Air quality on the Central Coast is worsening once again as a result of California's wildfires and air quality experts say it likely won't improve this weekend.

Air Quality Alerts were issued for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties through Sunday as a blanket of smoke covers much of the area.

“Never, ever do I remember it being like this, never,” said David Rosenthal, a longtime San Luis Obispo resident. "This is the worst I've ever seen it.

Thursday afternoon, Rosenthal was getting in some disc golf practices at Meadow Park before conditions worsened.

“It almost makes me want to leave the area if it continues like this,” Rosenthal said.

Over the past few weeks, smoke has been imported from devastating wildfires, most recently from the Glass Fire burning in Napa and Sonoma counties and the Creek Fire burning east of Fresno.

“Conditions are changing rapidly right now. What we are seeing is a big layer of smoke from the Sierra's coming over into our county,” said Meghan Field, an air quality specialist with SLO County Air Pollution Control District (SLO ACPD).

A look at air conditions in San Luis Obispo County shows the majority of the map in the yellow category, meaning 'moderate.'

“It’s not as clear as it was yesterday or the day before,” said Laura Zuffi, who was out at Grover Beach on Thursday. “If it's going to get worse, I will probably not come to the beach the next few days."

Experts say smoke can impact areas differently.

“We're seeing higher levels in the eastern parts, Red Hills, Carrizo Plain, but with the constantly changing conditions, it's started to shift and we are seeing it down in the south county,” Field said.

Prolonged exposure can take a toll on the body.

“It can impact people’s health ranging from coughing and wheezing to irritated eyes,” she said.

According to air quality specialists, if you see or smell smoke, it's best to go inside and close windows and doors.