FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2017
Susan Klein-Rothschild, Santa Barbara County Public Health Deputy Director, (805) 896-1057
Lyz Hoffman, Air Pollution Control District Public Information Officer, (805) 364-2247
Air Quality Warning Still in Effect
Continue to Take Precautions
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Monitoring stations continue to record unhealthy air in Santa Barbara County, with levels of fine particles (PM 2.5) still high. Larger particles (PM 10) and smoke aloft in the air will make air quality conditions appear worse and lead to poor visibility in some areas of the county. Those larger particles are less harmful to health than the smaller, fine particles, which are invisible. The larger particles can break down into smaller particles over time, so everyone should continue to take precautions.
The Air Quality Warning will remain in effect until conditions improve. To view the smoke forecast and current conditions, see Today’s Air Quality. Updated forecasts will be posted there. Please assume the Santa Barbara air quality indices for particles (PM 10 and PM 2.5) applies to Carpinteria as well. Air quality conditions may be worse close to the fire.
We recommend that everyone:
- Stay indoors, with windows closed and indoor circulation only. Air conditioning is also an option if the outside intake is closed. Avoid going outdoors. Particles can build up indoors, so if you are feeling symptoms where you are, be prepared to relocate to an indoor location with better ventilation, or to leave the area.
- Consider purchasing a HEPA air cleaner and placing it in a designated “clean air room” in your home. This will help with the smoke odors and the particles.
- Staying indoors is especially important for children, seniors, and those with heart and lung conditions, as they are more vulnerable to impacts.
- Regarding staying warm indoors when the temperatures are low, all heating systems are different but have the potential to bring in outside air and ash. Consider wearing layers instead.
- 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.
- For people who have to be outdoors for short periods of time, N95 masks, when fitted properly, offer some protection from fine particles in smoke. For updated lists of distribution sites, visit http://countyofsb.org/thomasfire.sbc#update.
- We do not advise ash clean-up at this time as ash is still falling and the situation is unpredictable. For more about ash clean-up see this page: https://www.ourair.org/smoke-health/
- Do not use leaf blowers, as they will stir up ash.
If you have symptoms that may be related to exposure to smoke and soot, contact your doctor. Symptoms include repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, headaches, and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.
A break in the large-scale offshore wind pattern is expected Friday afternoon, bringing an improvement in smoke impacts across the region. A slight decrease in ash fallout is expected as the Thomas Fire moves farther away from populated areas.
See Today’s Air Quality for current conditions and forecasts.