SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — The San Luis Obispo (SLO) County Air Pollution Control District and County Health Department said that air quality in San Luis Obispo County is being impacted by smoke from wildfires. As of 2 p.m. Monday, July 30, smoke impacts were the greatest in Eastern and Central San Luis Obispo County (including Paso Robles and Atascadero) and air quality is mostly good along the coast (including San Luis Obispo), but coastal air quality could deteriorate as the smoke plume spreads. Expect skies to be hazy and fine particulate (PM2.5) and ozone concentrations to be higher than normal. Changing winds make it difficult to predict which areas of the county may be most affected as the week progresses. However, until the fires are put out, smoke will likely be intermittently present in the region.
County officials recommend people 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. If smoke impacts increase, healthy people could be affected as well. 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. More information can be found at slocleanair.org/air-quality/wildfire.
To clean ash, 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. People with existing heart or lung conditions, are advised to avoid doing ash clean-up 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 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. Sign up to receive the daily AQI air quality forecast via email by subscribing online at enviroflash.info, sign up for our AirAware text notifications and check our Twitter feed for the latest updates (@slocleanair).