Red sun rising: County issues air quality alert due to wildfire smoke
–The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District on Tuesday issued an air quality alert due to smoke from wildfires. This air quality alert is in effect through Wednesday.
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.
The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District and Public Health Department are working in partnership to assess the air quality in order to identify any potential health impacts and to inform the community about safeguarding individual health. At this time, several wildfires in and out of San Luis Obispo County are impacting air quality with smoke filling the skies, particularly in northern San Luis Obispo County.
Expect skies to be hazy and fine particulate (PM2.5) concentrations to be higher than normal. Changing winds 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: Air District officials recommend that if you smell smoke or see ash, take precautions, and use common sense to reduce your exposure to smoke. All adults and children should:
– Head indoors and remain indoors, if possible
– Avoid strenuous outdoor activity
– Close all windows and doors that lead outside to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.
These precautions are especially important for sensitive groups, including children, older adults, and people with existing respiratory illness and heart conditions, as they are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of poor air quality. Families with small children should be aware that even if adults in the household have no symptoms, children may experience symptoms due to their smaller body mass and developing lungs.
If smoke increases, healthy people could be affected as well. If you experience a cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, exhaustion, light-headedness or chest pain, stop any outdoor activity immediately and seek medical attention. More information can be found at slocleanair.org/air-quality/wildfire.
Air Pollution Control District 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 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 current and forecasted AQI is available via the APCD website: slocleanair.org.