Paso Robles News|Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Hundreds of fires burning in California, unhealthy air quality alert in effect for SLO County 

The pink denotes areas that are in “Red Alert.” The triangles represent “hot spots” and the circle fire icons represent fires. Click here to see a current fire activity map.

–Hundreds of wind-driven, lightning-stoked wildfires are currently burning across California. The blazes have so far destroyed dozens of homes in Northern California and are threatening thousands more from the Wine Country to the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Carmel Valley, according to a story by the Mercury News.

“At least 367 fires, mostly in Northern California, were sparked by Sunday’s historic siege of lightning — more than 10,800 strikes,” according to the Mercury News. “And most of the fires are burning out of control. Unrelenting high temperatures and low humidity helped turn air quality in the Bay Area and parts of Central California into the worst on the planet, with so many fires sending smoke in so many directions, it was impossible to be sure which blaze was responsible for the ash raining down.”

At least two people have died in the fires: a helicopter pilot on a water-dropping mission and an electrical utility worker assisting the fire response, according to a story by the NY Times posted Thursday morning.

A fire has been burning near Big Sur since Tuesday night and has caused a closure of Highway 1 in Northern San Luis Obispo County. That fire appears to have been intentionally ignited, say authorities, and a Fresno Man has been arrested for arson in connection with the blaze, according to a story by the Sacramento Bee. 

Cal Fire reportedly is advising all Californians to be prepared for evacuation and have an emergency plan in place. Much of the state is on a “Red Flag Warning” for the potential of evacuations. Click here to see a current fire activity map.

An air quality alert remains in effect for North San Luis Obispo County. Click here to see an air quality map and more information about the alert:

Exposure to particle pollution can cause serious health problems, aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and increase risk of respiratory infections.

Residents are advised to use caution as conditions warrant. People with heart or lung disease should follow their doctors advice for dealing with episodes of smoke. Additionally, older adults and children should avoid prolonged exposure, strenuous activity or heavy exertion, as conditions dictate.