Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - San Luis Obispo APCD Smoke Advisory - #SoberanesFire

Contact:   Larry Allen, 805-781-5912
                  SLO County Air Pollution Control District

                  Dr. Penny Borenstein, 805-781-5500
                  SLO County Public Health Department


SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA, – The San Luis Obispo (SLO) County Air Pollution Control District and County Health Department informs individuals that air quality throughout San Luis Obispo County is being impacted by smoke from wildfires.  At this time, air quality models are indicating smoke from the Soberanes fire in Monterey County is being transported into San Luis Obispo County.  Skies are hazy and fine particulate (PM2.5) concentrations are higher than normal due to transported smoke from the fire.  Changing winds and fire conditions make it difficult to predict which areas of the county may be most affected.  However, until the fires are put out, smoke will likely be intermittently present in our region.

If you smell smoke or see ash fall, County officials recommend you take precautions and use common sense to reduce the harmful health effects associated with smoke exposure.  When it is obvious that smoke is in the air, individuals should avoid strenuous outdoor activity and remain indoors as much as possible.  These precautions are especially important for people with existing respiratory illness and heart conditions, as they are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of declining air quality. 

Levels of particulates in the smoke may be high enough in some areas that even healthy people could be affected.  If a cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, exhaustion, light-headedness or chest pain occurs, outdoor activity should be stopped immediately and the affected person should seek medical attention. 

To clean ash, please do the following: use a damp cloth and spray areas lightly with water, directing ash-filled water to ground areas, and away from the runoff system; take your vehicle to the car wash; wash off toys that have been outside in the ash; clean ash off pets; due to the corrosive nature of ash, avoid any skin contact with the ash (wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts); and do not use leaf blowers.  Please note, if you have existing heart or lung conditions, avoid doing ash clean-up yourself or anything else that stirs the particles back up into the air.  In addition, do not allow children to play in the ash.

APCD and County officials will continue to closely monitor smoke impacts and air quality in San Luis Obispo County.  By following the air quality index (AQI), the general public can also monitor real-time air quality throughout SLO County.  The AQI focuses on health effects individuals may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air.  The AQI is available to the public via the APCD website: slocleanair.org.  Sign up to receive the daily air quality forecast via email by subscribing online at enviroflash.info.

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