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June 27, 2022

With fire, agency issues warning on air quality

The local health department sent out an alert advising residents about air-quality impacts from the wildfire near Big Sur.

The following is that announcement:
The Monterey Bay Air Resources District advises air quality in portions of San Benito County is being affected by smoke from the Soberanes wildfire. In Hollister and San Juan Bautista, air quality is currently categorized as “unhealthy for sensitive groups” by the District. Wildfire smoke contains significant quantities of respiratory irritants. The effects of smoke from wildfires range from eye and respiratory tract irritation to more serious disorders including reduced lung function, bronchitis, and exacerbation of asthma. Particles can also affect healthy people causing respiratory symptoms, reduced lung function, and pulmonary inflammation. Populations especially vulnerable to the effects of wildfire smoke include individuals with asthma and other respiratory diseases, individuals with cardiovascular disease, the elderly, infants and children, pregnant women, and smokers.

The following precautions should to be taken while the level of air quality is at an unhealthy level:

• People with asthma, allergies and/or pulmonary and cardiac conditions should stay indoors with the windows and doors closed or consider temporarily leaving the area.

• Avoid outdoor exercise and physical activity. Increased breathing rates bring more pollutants deep into the lungs.

• Reduce other sources of indoor and outdoor air pollution including cigarette smoke, barbequing use of aerosol products, vacuuming, and burning candles or incense.

Check the Monterey Bay Air Resources District website daily for real time air quality information in our region at http://mbard.org/air-quality/.

For more information about the health effects of wildfire smoke, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/features/wildfires/.

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