SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — The Monterey Bay Air Resources District is asking residents to avoid adding more pollution to the air during a time when smoke from the massive wildfires currently burning in Northern California is entering the region.

The air quality in Santa Cruz County is currently rated as “moderate,” a step below being unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Conditions are subject to change depending on wind and fire activity, said Richard A. Stedman, air pollution control officer, and as a result, air quality will be variable and unpredictable.

The district is asking residents to limit activities such as wood burning, driving, lawn mowing, and leaf blowing.

If you are being impacted by smoke, consider these guidelines:

•  Use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it’s probably not a good time to go for a run. And it’s probably not a good time for your children to play outdoors.

•  If you have a heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children, consider staying indoors with the doors and windows closed to avoid breathing smoke. You may want to check with your health care provider to make sure it’s not necessary for you to leave the area.

•   Help lower inside particle levels inside your home. When smoke levels are high, avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves — even candles. Don’t vacuum as that stirs up particles already inside your home. And don’t smoke. That puts even more pollution in your lungs, and in the lungs of people around you.

Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles, which are especially harmful to the very young, very old, and to people with heart and lung disease.

The Monterey Bay Air Resources District tracks real time air quality in the region. Updates on the current air quality forecast can be found on the Air District website at

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