Friday, July 20 , 2018, 3:44 pm | Fair 75º


Local News

Santa Barbara County Cancels Air Quality Watch from Thomas Fire

Santa Barbara County officials lifted all air quality watches and warnings for the outdoors on Friday, following a stretch of unhealthy conditions from the Thomas Fire's smoke and ash.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District previously downgraded the Air Quality Warning to an Air Quality Watch, which was canceled on Friday. 

Air quality throughout the county has been good to-moderate for several days, officials said. 

Health officials encourage people to keep their N-95 masks on hand in case the wind stirs up the ash that has settled in trees, the ground and other locations. Over time those particles may be broken into smaller, more harmful particles and blown into the air.

Officials said people should not use leaf blowers or take other actions that would circulate ash and particles, at least until the county has experienced significant rainfall.

“If we don’t have a wet winter, and ash is blown from the fire area into local communities, leaf blowers are not recommended for ash cleanup,” Public Health Deputy Director Susan Klein-Rothschild said in a statement.

“Instead, sweep ash gently with a broom, and take cars to a car wash. Everyone should avoid skin contact with ash, and no one with heart or lung conditions should handle ash cleanup.”

Check the Santa Barbara County Thomas Fire page for more information about ash clean-up methods. 

The Thomas Fire is the largest fire in California's recent history. It forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate, and the unhealthy air quality caused schools and businesses to close all over southern Santa Barbara County.

As of Friday, the fire had burned 281,893 acres and is at 92 percent containment

Click here for daily air quality information from the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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