CENTRAL COAST — Smoke transported from the massive wildfires currently burning in Northern California, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia may degrade air quality in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, possibly causing the concentration of smoke to reach unhealthful levels in some parts of the tri-county air basin.

Conditions are subject to change depending on wind and fire activity. As a result, air quality will be variable and unpredictable, according to Air Pollution Control Officer Richard A. Stedman with the Monterey Bay Air Resources District.

“The Air District will continue to follow the situation and issue advisories when appropriate,” Stedman said.

The Monterey Bay Air Resources District tracks real time air quality in the region. Updates on the current air quality forecast can be found on the Air District website http://mbard.org/air-quality.

“We are asking residents to avoid adding more pollution to the air by limiting activities, such as wood burning, driving, lawn mowing and leaf blowing,” Stedman said.

Anyone being impacted by smoke should consider these guidelines:

• Use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it’s probably not a good time to go for a run. And, it’s probably not a good time for your children to play outdoors.

• If you have a heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children, consider staying indoors with the doors and windows closed to avoid breathing smoke. You may want to check with your health care provider to make sure it’s not necessary for you to leave the area.

• Help lower inside particle levels inside your home. When smoke levels are high, avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves — even candles. Don’t vacuum as that stirs up particles already inside your home. And don’t smoke. That puts even more pollution in your lungs, and in the lungs of people around you.

Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. These fine particles are especially harmful to the very young, very old, and to people with heart and lung disease.

More information about the health effects of wildfire smoke can be found on the EPA website www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=smoke.index.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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