Though air quality in Santa Barbara is expected to be unhealthy for sensitive individuals today, this is still slightly better air quality than on Monday.
According to Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District public information officer Lyz Hoffman, Santa Barbara’s air quality today is forecasted to be “unhealthy for sensitive groups” countywide, due to smoke blowing into the area from the wildfires raging across California and the greater West Coast.
Sensitive groups include children, seniors, pregnant women, and individuals with heart and lung conditions.
Monday’s air quality was deemed “unhealthy,” the third most severe air pollution ranking under “very unhealthy” and “hazardous.”
When speaking to the News-Press on Monday, the Air Pollution Control District didn’t have air quality predictions for the next several days since it only takes two-day forecasts, but Ms. Hoffman remarked that air quality will remain at today’s level for most of this week.
“As of now, our forecast is expecting conditions to stay pretty much the same, at least until Thursday,” she said.
Ms. Hoffman said the poor air quality is largely due to the smoke bringing high levels of particulate matter, with local ozone levels largely unaffected by the smoke. She added that it’s not clear exactly which of the many fires has produced most of the smoke blowing into Santa Barbara County.
“At this point, given the volume of the fires across the West Coast, it’s hard to pinpoint it to one fire in particular,” she said.
While the smoky conditions last, Ms. Hoffman suggested Santa Barbara residents stay informed about air quality in their area by checking hourly conditions and forecasts on the Air Pollution Control District website.
In addition to using common sense and staying inside if one smells smoke outdoors, she recommended creating a “clean air room.” As the News-Press reported, this can be done by purchasing a high-efficiency particulate air purifier. Capable of reducing indoor particulate matter by 90%, a HEPA purifier for an average-sized bedroom can be purchased at hardware stores or through online retailers for $75.
For $40, local residents can also make their own HEPA filters by purchasing a 20-inch by 20-inch box fan and duct taping a MERV filter of the same dimensions to its back. As it can be a fire hazard, a homemade HEPA should be turned off while one is sleeping and shouldn’t be left unattended.
Santa Barbara’s outside high temperature will be 86 degrees today and is forecasted to be the same on Wednesday. This is the beginning of a warming trend after last week, which National Weather Service meteorologist Kristen Stewart said is due to smoke starting to thin out.
Thursday’s high temperature for Santa Barbara is expected to drop slightly from the previous days and hit 83 degrees, while Friday is expected to warm up again with a high temperature of 87 degrees. This coming weekend is forecasted to experience a significant cool down, with Saturday and Sunday reaching high temperatures of 74 and 72 degrees, respectively.
Santa Maria is forecasted to reach a high temperature of 75 degrees today, 76 on Wednesday, 78 on Thursday, 77 on Friday, 77 again on Saturday, and 75 on Sunday.