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Santa Barbara County Ends Air Quality Watch for Montecito Area After Gibraltar Fire

Santa Barbara County agencies issued an Air Quality Watch for Montecito Thursday afternoon, saying smoke and ash from the 50-acre Gibraltar Fire in Los Padres National Forest could impact air quality.

They ended the advisory Friday afternoon after crews made excellent progress on containing and extinguishing the fire. 

The fire was reported around 5:15 a.m. Thursday and a Unified Command was quickly established to launch an air attack on the blaze, which was wind-driven in the hills above Santa Barbara and Montecito. 

The levels of smoke and particles in the air will depend on winds and containment of the fire, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. 

These watches are issued whenever there is potential for poor air quality in some areas of the county, the agencies said in a statement. The watch is in effect as long as conditions warrant it.

People are advised to limit time outdoors when large amounts of smoke and particles are in the air and contact a health care provider if they get symptoms related to ash particles which include: repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, nausea, unusual fatigue, lightheadedness or palpitations, according to the Public Health Department.

“Ash and soot particles may be stirred up into the air by winds. All residents are urged to avoid stirring particles into the air when cleaning up ash and soot, and especially to avoid using leaf blowers (and to ask landscaping services to avoid using leaf blowers),” county agencies said in a statement. 

For recorded advisory updates, residents can call 805.961.8802. 

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli 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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