For Immediate Release
September 14, 2020
Lyz Hoffman, Air Pollution Control District Public Information Officer, (805) 961-8819
Jackie Ruiz, Santa Barbara County Public Health Public Information Officer, (805) 896-1057
Air Quality Alert for Santa Barbara County
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District issued an Air Quality Warning for Santa Barbara County to be in effect until conditions improve. At this time, air quality in Santa Barbara County is expected to continue being affected through the end of this week. An unprecedented number of large wildfires throughout California are producing significant smoke that is being held in the upper atmosphere and is reaching ground level throughout the state. This is a dynamic situation, and local air quality conditions can deteriorate quickly. Stay alert to local conditions by visiting Today’s Air Quality or fire.airnow.gov.
Levels of smoke and particles, and areas affected, will vary. If 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;
• Avoid strenuous outdoor activity;
• Close all windows and doors that lead outside to prevent bringing additional smoke inside;
• 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 conditions, the use of a properly fitted N-95 mask provides protection.
When wildfire smoke is affecting your area, create a “clean air room” to keep indoor air quality safe. The best protection against wildfire smoke is to stay indoors as much as possible when smoke is present. For information on different ways to create a “clean air room,” click here.
Day Care, Camps, and Organized Outdoor Activities
Programs that serve or organize activities outdoors should use the Fire and Smoke Air Now map https://fire.airnow.gov/ or the Today’s Air Quality webpage to identify air quality conditions based on the Air Quality Index color for their area and take the following actions:
• Yellow / “Moderate”: Limit outdoor activities during times of smoke, especially for persons with lung conditions, such as asthma.
• Orange / “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”: Sensitive groups — people with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults, pregnant women, and children — should stay indoors as much as possible, limiting outdoor activities to short periods of necessary activity that are not intense.
• Red / “Unhealthy”: Stop outdoor activities and stay indoors
If you have symptoms that may be related to exposure to smoke and soot, contact your health care provider. Symptoms include repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.