Thomas Fire | Smoke impacts SLO County air quality

For the second day in a row, San Luis Obispo County residents have woken up to haze and an orange sun, as smoke from the Thomas Fire drifts this way.

The air quality ranged from good to moderate throughout the county on Monday, with the worst conditions in the Nipomo area and in North County, according to the SLO County Air Pollution Control District’s data map. Air quality in those areas was listed as moderate.

In San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande, where smoke tinted the sky orange all day on Sunday, air quality was listed as good. The National Weather Service cautioned that smoke would impact the county on Monday and advised people to stay inside, drink plenty of fluids and take precautions while outdoors.

“It’s cleaner today than it was yesterday, generally speaking,” said Gary Willey, air pollution control officer for the SLO County Air Pollution Control District.

Willey said that the harmful particles carried by the smoke have been up in the upper atmosphere, so SLO County hasn’t seen any significant impact.

“There are no air quality alerts in our county,” Willey said. “We have some moderate conditions on the Nipomo Mesa, but it’s much lower than springtime dust levels on the Mesa at this point.”

Willey said county officials don’t currently have plans to distribute N95 masks in SLO County, but they are monitoring the air quality throughout the county on an hourly basis. He emphasized that though SLO County isn’t experiencing poor air quality, that could change based on wind and weather patterns.

“We have a fraction of what they have in Santa Barbara County,” Willey said. He added that air quality conditions in the county look to remain the same throughout the week, but “smoke can come into our county at any time.”

“We’ll definitely be on guard and monitoring it closely,” he said.

No local school districts canceled classes on Monday, but Nipomo High School announced it would not hold sports practices outside due to unsafe air quality. School districts in the Santa Maria area canceled classes on Monday due to poor air quality. They planned to reopen on Tuesday.

via Thomas Fire | Smoke impacts SLO County air quality | The Tribune

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