Pixel Tracker

Monday, February 18 , 2019, 5:30 pm | Partly Cloudy 54º


Leaf Blowers Not Advised in Santa Barbara County Areas with Ash, Drying Mud

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District today reflect on continuing health effects of the ash that fell during the Thomas Fire and the health effects of dust from the drying mud of the Montecito mudslides.

The amount of ash that fell throughout the county during the Thomas Fire was unprecedented. Dry weather conditions are expected to continue, and any future windy conditions can stir up remaining ash and dust.

County residents and landscapers are encouraged to be good neighbors and not use leaf blowers if ash and drying mud are present, and especially in areas affected by the mudslides. Using leaf blowers stirs up ash and dust.

Ash and dust are larger particles, but over time, they break down into smaller, more harmful particles that can lodge deep into the lungs and cause serious health effects; using leaf blowers contributes to the larger particles becoming smaller, hazardous particles.

Consider alternatives to leaf blowers. If ash or dust are present in your area, sweep gently with a broom before mopping; HEPA vacuums are also recommended.

Click here for mud cleanup tips.

The Air Pollution Control District has deployed a portable monitoring device in Montecito to measure the amount of those small particles (known as PM 2.5) in the air. The device will provide hourly readings of PM 2.5 and allow people to make informed decisions to protect their health. When data are available, data can be found at this webpage.

Particle levels can vary greatly depending on location, wind conditions, and activities in the immediate area. If you are unusually sensitive to air pollution, be aware of your local air quality conditions and take precautions to minimize your exposure.

Stay indoors, keep indoor air as clean as possible by using a HEPA air filter, and wear an N-95 mask if being outside during dust events is necessary, or when cleaning up ash or dry mud in your area. N95 masks will be available at the Disaster Recovery Center on Monday.

Consult your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms.

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >