FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 29, 2017
Susan Klein-Rothschild, Public Health Deputy Director, (805) 681-5435
Lyz Hoffman, Air Pollution Control District Public Information Officer, (805) 961-8819
Air Quality Watch Cancelled for Santa Barbara County
Avoid Stirring Up Ash — Do Not Use Leaf Blowers
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Today, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District cancelled the Air Quality Watch that was in effect due to impacts from the Thomas Fire. Air quality throughout the county has been good-to-moderate for several days and the Thomas Fire is nearly fully contained.
However, the amount of ash that fell throughout the county while the fire was burning was unprecedented, and dry conditions are expected to continue for the next several days. Winds can still stir up ash, and over time those particles may be broken into smaller, more harmful particles and blown into the air. When ash is stirred up in the air, take precautions to reduce you and your family’s exposure to the air pollution.
Residents are reminded not to use leaf blowers or perform any activities that will stir ash and particles into the air, at least until the county has experienced significant rainfall. If we don’t have a wet winter, and ash is blown from the fire area into local communities, leaf blowers are not recommended for ash cleanup. Instead, sweep ash gently with a broom, and take cars to a car wash. Everyone should avoid skin contact with ash, and no one with heart or lung conditions should handle ash cleanup.