Today (Friday, Aug. 24), Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and Santa Barbara County Public Health Department issued an air quality watch for Santa Barbara County through the weekend.

Smoke from fires burning elsewhere in the state is causing high levels of particulate matter throughout Santa Barbara County.

Current conditions throughout the county show levels of fine particles (PM 2.5) that range from unhealthy for sensitive groups (children, seniors, and people with lung or heart conditions) to unhealthy for everyone.

The air quality forecast for the weekend shows improvement from today’s conditions, but people are encouraged to stay alert to the air quality around them, as local conditions can change quickly depending on wind and weather.

See current conditions and forecasts on the cistrict’s website

The district recommends people avoid outdoor exercise and stay indoors when air quality conditions are poor. When driving, people should use the car’s recirculate feature to prevent smoky air from entering the vehicle.

People can also set up a clean-air room in their homes by using a HEPA air purifier or attaching a HEPA filter to a box fan. For more information about HEPA purifiers, visit

Those who have symptoms related to exposure to smoke should contact a doctor.

Symptoms include repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, headaches, and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.

Lyz Hoffman for Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District.