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Air Quality Alert issued for Santa Barbara County

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Posted at 7:31 PM, Oct 13, 2021

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) upgraded the Air Quality Watch to an Alert for Santa Barbara County, including the Channel Islands.

As of Wednesday afternoon, smoke and ash from the Alisal Fire is affecting air quality, and winds in the forecast are expected to push more smoke onshore.

Health officials say ff 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.

Symptoms of exposure to smoke or soot include repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness. If you are experiencing any of these you are asked to contact your doctor.

Santa Barbara County residents can stay alert with updates on the air quality by visiting ACPD's website and by checking out theEPA Fire & Smoke map.