News Releases and Air Alerts

Health Effects of Ash and Dust

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. —  The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District today reflect on continuing health effects of the ash that fell during the Thomas Fire and the health effects of dust from the drying mud of the Montecito mudslides.

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Air Quality Watch Cancelled for Santa Barbara County

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.

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Cleanup of Structures Damaged by Flooding and Fire

Homes and structures that are damaged or destroyed by a flood or fire can result in toxic debris and ash that contains heavy metals, asbestos, and other hazardous materials. If inhaled, microscopic asbestos fibers pose a serious health threat because they can become permanently lodged in body tissues. 

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Air Quality Warning Downgraded to Air Quality Watch

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District have downgraded the Air Quality Warning to an Air Quality Watch. Air quality has improved significantly over the past several days, although areas could still be affected by winds stirring up ash. The Air Quality Watch will remain in effect through the weekend and Monday holiday.

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Do Not Use Leaf Blowers

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District remind the community that leaf blowers should not be used while there are large amounts of ash in our environment, as this could result in a violation of Air Pollution Control District regulations and endanger health. All county residents are encouraged to be good neighbors and not use leaf blowers. The Air Pollution Control District can take enforcement action against any person who uses a leaf blower in the aftermath of the Thomas Fire where a threat to public health in violation of state law and District regulations is determined.

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Air Quality Warning in Effect Through Weekend

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Air quality conditions are expected to be highly variable this weekend, especially in southern Santa Barbara County. Monitoring stations continue to record unhealthy air, with levels of invisible fine particles (PM 2.5) still high. While winds may improve air quality in some areas, they can also stir up ash over the weekend. Areas affected will vary. The Air Quality Warning will remain in effect until conditions improve.

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Health Notice to Local Landscapers

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) –Please be aware that the County Public Health Department and the Air Pollution Control District are strongly recommending NO USE OF LEAFBLOWERS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. No ash clean-up at residential and commercial properties should occur until this health notice is changed. If any landscaping or gardening activity is necessary it is essential to make sure all personnel are wearing properly fitting N-95 masks. If you need these for staff, they can be obtained free of charge from the Public Health Dept. at 805-681-5100. Spanish speakers will be available.

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More Air Quality Information Now Available

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District has set up temporary air monitoring stations to record levels of fine particles (PM 2.5) in Carpinteria, Santa Ynez, and Los Alamos. See Today’s Air Quality for current conditions in these locations and throughout the county.

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Unhealthy Air in Santa Barbara County — Air Quality Warning Continues

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. —Monitoring stations continue to record unhealthy air in Santa Barbara County, with levels of fine particles high and levels of larger particles, including ash particles, rising. Forecasts show that smoke and ash will continue to affect the southern part of Santa Barbara County for the next several days, and the Santa Ynez Valley and the northern parts of the County will see increasing impacts. The Air Quality Warning will remain in effect until conditions improve, which will depend on winds, and the control of the Thomas Fire. 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 index applies to Carpinteria as well. Air quality conditions may be worse close to the fire.

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