Santa Barbara remains under an air quality watch Wednesday due to strong winds that have kicked up smoke and ash from the Alisal fire that has burned more than 15,000 acres after igniting Monday in the Santa Ynez Mountains.
According to officials, the situation is dynamic and air quality conditions can quickly change, with the potential to exacerbate heart or lung conditions. As a precaution, time spent outside should be limited for older adults, pregnant women and children when smoke can be seen or smelled.
When air quality reaches unhealthy levels, officials recommend that all residents head indoors, avoid strenuous outdoor activity, close all windows and doors, and drink plenty of fluids. Essential workers who must work outside during wildfire smoke conditions are recommended to use a properly fitted N95 mask for protection.
Should symptoms develop after exposure to smoke and soot — repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness — locals should contact their doctor, officials said.
Federal officials are expected to resume command of firefighting resources on Wednesday after the Alisal fire grew to more than 6,000 acres on Tuesday and with 0% containment, as gusty winds have impeded efforts to drop retardant from the air, according to a U.S. Forest Service spokesman.