Pictured: Real time air quality readings through PurpleAir.com at about 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2020. 

by Kimberly Rivers

kimberly@vcreporter.com

Last weekend, Sept. 11-13, the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (VCAPCD) issued an Air Quality Alert due to the potential health impacts of wildfire smoke from fires burning across the state. On Sept 14, VCAPCD extended the alert as offshore breezes in the evening were expected to push more smoke into the county. 

The smoke lingering in Ventura County’s airshed is coming from fires to the north and south and is expected to continue. 

“While most of the smoke has remained well above the surface, it has begun to mix down towards the surface in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley and will likely do the same in other areas of the county,” stated the VCAPCD on their website on Sept. 13. The alert emphasized that “wildfire smoke concentrations can vary hour by hour and change frequently. Forecast AQI [Air Quality Index] colors are meant to be as representative as possible for the 24-hour day. At times, air quality is likely to be better or worse than is indicated for the full day.”

While air quality varies, the VCAPCD information stated that “Air quality should be considered unhealthy in areas directly impacted by smoke. If you are in an area directly impacted by smoke, please exercise extreme caution and avoid vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion.”

People with respiratory or heart disease issues, in particular, as well as children and the elderly should remain indoors and out of the smoke-filled air. 

Those with air conditioners should run the system with a clean filter and have it set to recirculate interior air only, closing any intakes for fresh air on units with that option. Doors and windows should be closed to reduce the amount of smoke inside. 

For additional information, call the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District at 805-662-6960 (Monday-Friday), visit vcapcd.org or follow VCAPCD on Twitter (@vcapcd) for the latest air quality updates.

For Air Quality Index data for your city, visit www.airnow.gov.

For real-time particulate matter levels, visit www2.purpleair.com