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Fire personnel are stationed near the Alisal fire.

Santa Barbara County's air quality watch was upgraded to an alert Thursday morning as winds are forecast to bring more ash and smoke onshore from the Alisal fire. 

The fire has consumed more than 16,800 acres after igniting Monday in the Santa Ynez Mountains.

The Air Pollution Control District in coordination with County Public Health issued the initial air quality advisory on Tuesday. 

According to officials, the situation is dynamic and air quality conditions can quickly change, with the potential to exacerbate heart or lung conditions. As a precaution, time spent outside should be limited for older adults, pregnant women and children when smoke can be seen or smelled.

When air quality reaches unhealthy levels, officials recommend that all residents head indoors, avoid strenuous outdoor activity, close all windows and doors, and drink plenty of fluids. Essential workers who must work outside during wildfire smoke conditions are recommended to use a properly fitted N95 mask for protection.

Should symptoms develop after exposure to smoke and soot — repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness — locals should contact their doctor, officials said.

For updates on local air quality conditions, visit www.ourair.org/todays-air-quality or fire.airnow.gov to view the fire and smoke map.

Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, editions of the Santa Maria Times.

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