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Poor air quality results in Air Quality Alert for SLO County

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Posted at 6:07 PM, Aug 18, 2020

An Air Quality Alert is in effect for San Luis Obispo County.

This comes as more than two dozen fires are burning across California.

In particular, Monterey County's River Fire is significantly impacting North County.

"It's horrible but it was caused by lightning and it's what happens in California this time of year," said Kim LaChance of Paso Robles.

"I see it more over the mountain tops and kind of if you look further into the distance you can see there's like a white film over everything," added Grace Crose of Paso Robles.

The Air Quality Alert was issued on Tuesday morning and it's undetermined at this point how long it'll remain in effect.

"Right now, it's kind of teetering between unhealthy for sensitive groups which are people with preexisting conditions, elderly, small children, into that unhealthy level which is really not good for anybody," said Meghan Field, Air Quality Specialist for the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District.

The smoke is a one-two punch for some areas.

"Coupled with the heat, it's pretty hard to breathe and uncomfortable," Lachance said.

The City of Paso Robles will keep its cooling center open a bit longer at the Centennial Park Gym.

"Decided it was the responsible thing to do to extend the hours of our cooling center through Wednesday evening," explained Lynda Plescia, City of Paso Robles Recreation Services Manager.

The city has also canceled some outdoor activities, like karate, due to the smoke and heat combined.

Meantime, the SLO County Air Pollution Control District also adds that cloth masks will not protect you from inhaling wildfire smoke.

"There is a shortage of N95s and we do want to keep those for the first responders and medical professionals but if you are forced to go outside, those N95s will offer you the best protection," Field said.

If you're interested in having air quality alerts sent to your phone, click here.

The North County Animal Hospital is taking in pets if you need a place for your pet to stay and cool down. It's free of charge.