Wildfires impacted SLO air quality


COUNTY — Smoke impacted San Luis Obispo County air quality earlier this week due to the wildfires burning across the state.

Better Breathers Alert for Atascadero and Paso Robles were issued by the county Air Pollution Control District (APCD) for Nov. 9 and 10. Air quality was forecasted to be in the moderate range which is harmful to sensitive persons due to an increase in Particulate Matter (PM10) concentrations. Very sensitive individuals such as infants, children, and adults with existing respiratory or heart conditions may experience adverse health effects. If you are experiencing health problems APCD advises the public to consult your doctor.

As of Nov. 13, county officials reported the air quality in SLO County was affected by smoke from wildfires but has recently improved. Air quality is now good across the county and is expected to stay that way until the end of the week. Though some very sensitive individuals may still experience health effects if conditions change.

The Public Health Department is not currently distributing N95 masks. County officials are closely monitoring the situation and are prepared to distribute the masks if needed. If members of the public would like to acquire one they are sold at many retail locations. Masks may be reused if they are dry and in good condition.

If you smell smoke or see ash fall, County officials recommend you take precautions to reduce the harmful health effects associated with smoke exposure. When smoke in the air is obvious, people should avoid vigorous outdoor activity and remain indoors as much as possible. These precautions are particularly important for people with existing respiratory illness and heart conditions and for the infants and children and the elderly — as they are most vulnerable to the health effects of declining air quality.

If levels of particulates in the smoke may be high enough in some areas that even healthy people could be affected. The APCD reports that If you are experiencing a cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, exhaustion, lightheadedness, or chest pain occurs, outdoor activity should be stopped immediately and the affected person should seek medical attention.

APCD and County officials will continue to monitor smoke impacts and air quality in the County.

The APCD collects air quality data 24 hours per day, seven days per week at nine permanent air monitoring stations located throughout the county and at temporary air monitoring sites set up in areas that may be most impacted. The APCD is monitoring the air quality hourly and the Public Health Department is following the results. The public will be alerted if conditions change.

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