Hot and dry conditions are in place today as the Soberanes Wildfire burns in heavy fuels and steep terrain north of Big Sur in Monterey County. High temperatures are expected to increase fire activity today. Variable winds could cause ground level smoke to expand outward from the fire toward the Carmel Valley and Monterey Peninsula and south to Big Sur during the day. Although much of the smoke is lifting aloft, the lowest layer may degrade air quality in these areas.
Areas near the fire affected by the smoke may experience fine particulate levels (called PM2.5) in unhealthful concentrations. The Monterey Bay Air Resources District tracks real time air quality in our region. You can check for updates on the current air quality forecast on our website at: http://mbard.org/air-quality/.
Conditions are subject to change depending on wind and fire activity. The District will continue to follow the situation and issue advisories when appropriate. If you are being impacted by smoke, consider these guidelines:
- Use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it’s probably not a good time to go for a run. And it’s probably not a good time for your children to play outdoors.
- If you have a heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children, consider staying indoors to avoid breathing the smoke particles. You may want to check with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s not necessary for you to leave the area.
- Help lower inside particle levels inside your home. When smoke levels are high, avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves – even candles. Don’t vacuum as that stirs up particles already inside your home. And don’t smoke. That puts even more pollution in your lungs, and in the lungs of people around you.
Health Effects of Smoke:
Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. These fine particles are especially harmful to the very young, very old, and to people with heart and lung disease.
If you have further questions, there is information about the health effects of wildfire smoke on the EPA website http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=smoke.index.
Richard A. Stedman Air Pollution Control Officer