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SLO County air quality among the worst in the world

An air quality alert has been issued for San Luis Obispo County with smoke moving in from wildfires to the north.

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - The Central Coast has some of the worst air quality in the world because of smoke from fires burning around Santa Cruz and Monterey County. Northern San Luis Obispo County has it the worst, but everyone can see it.

At 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon the Air Quality Index was at 449 in Lake Nacimiento, topping the world wide list for worst air quality tracked by IQ Air. San Miguel was second at 420 and Paso Robles was fifth at 382, which is still considered hazardous.

"The current conditions are bad," said San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District Officer, Gary WIlley. "Pretty much all through San Luis Obispo County it's unhealthy for everyone."

Closer to the fires burning in Monterey County, Northern San Luis Obispo County is especially bad.

"The level of smoke that we've seen for this long is pretty much unprecedented," said Willey, who has worked with the Air Pollution Control District for 30 years. "I don't remember having it stick around this long."

Dell Mercer traveled south along with the smoke where he spent time wine tasting in Santa Maria.

"It hasn't been terrible," Mercer said. "But the more hours you spend outside, it does get your throat."

Time lapse video of Cachuma Lake makes the water disappear faster than any drought.

You could still see the water at Pismo Beach, but the horizon has been defeated by smoke and haze, which also made it's way to Santa Barbara's Ledbetter beach to start the day.

"The best thing to do is avoid any strenuous activity," Willey said. "Stay cool. Use cold towels, cold showers. Stay indoors. Seal up your house, and if you can, if you have an air cleaner, an air filter, run that."

Some on shore air movement would help to push the smoke away, but until the fires are put out, the smoke will be an issue.

Article Topic Follows: Fire

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