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Despite hazy skies, Central Coast air is an escape from the smoke for some CA residents

campers in Morro Bay.JPG
Posted at 4:24 PM, Sep 27, 2021

You may have noticed smoky skies on the Central Coast over the past few days from the fires burning in Sequoia National Park and elsewhere in the state.

The air quality much closer to the fires has prompted some people to take a second look at their vacation plans with some seeking much clearer skies here on the Central Coast.

The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District says the smoke layer is starting to drift out of our area so campers in Morro Bay are enjoying the fresh air.

Derek Lee lives at the base of Sequoia National Park.

"One of the days, it was actually, you could see it flaking, coming down," Lee said about the ash from the fires. "It almost looked like snow. In the morning, it looks like it's foggy and it's just smoke so it was good timing for us to get some clean air."

Lee says his family booked their campsite at Morro Strand State Beach six months ago but the timing couldn't have been better.

They're staying an extra day to delay their return to the smoke.

"We thought about going home but we're going to stay and just enjoy the sunshine then we're going to go back to the poor, poor air, you know," Lee said.

Meanwhile, the Caldor Fire that started in mid-August near South Lake Tahoe is also pushing smoke into neighborhoods around there.

Kerry Cordova of Placerville decided to come to the Central Coast to escape the bad air.

"I came down for the weekend and got here Saturday and it was smoky here and the sky was like it was in Placerville," Cordova said.

The Air Pollution Control District says, however, that the air quality as we start the workweek is looking good.

"Although we're seeing hazy skies, that smoke is still really high up and not impacting our ground-level monitors at this point," said Meghan Field, SLO County Air Pollution Control District, Public Information Officer and Air Quality Specialist.

Christie Pleiss of Redlands and her cousin, Leigh Miller of New York, camped in Morro Bay over the weekend.

"As we were driving up we were wondering about the air quality. It was definitely hazy," Pleiss said.

They kept an eye on the air quality and on Monday, they noticed residue on their car.

"I'm from New York so I didn't know what this was on the car. I'm just used to seeing pollen on the car," Miller said. "But my cousin who is from California just rubbed it off and it came off black on her finger so we think it could be ash."

Experts say you should wash the ash off your car as soon as possible to avoid any damage to the paint.

For current fire and smoke conditions based on your area, click here.