Environment

Air quality alert issued for Oceano, Nipomo Mesa: ‘It’s not a good time to be outside’

Stanley Fisher lived near the Oceano Dunes — while battling a terminal lung disease

Living within sight of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area, California, Stanley Fisher battled a terminal lung disease until his death in 2019. He and his wife monitored the air on a constant basis in San Luis Obispo County.
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Living within sight of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area, California, Stanley Fisher battled a terminal lung disease until his death in 2019. He and his wife monitored the air on a constant basis in San Luis Obispo County.

The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District and County Public Health Department sent an air quality alert Monday for the Oceano Dunes and Nipomo Mesa area because of blowing dust and sand.

Potentially harmful levels of blowing sand and dust are expected to occur from 2 to 7 p.m. today, with the most dust occurring from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., according to the alert. The forecast also calls for poor air conditions on Tuesday.

The advisory said sensitive individuals including infants, children and adults with respiratory or heart conditions, may experience adverse health effects from the sand and dust.

Air Pollution Control Officer Gary Willey said it is best to curtail activity outside during these time frames.

“It’s looking pretty bad right now, one of the highest we’ve seen this windy season,” Willey said. “It’s not a good time to be outside.”

County officials recommend the public reschedule outdoor activities to occur when there is no visible dust, the alert said.

All adults and children should avoid strenuous outdoor activity and remain indoors as much as possible when blowing dust and sand is visible in the air, according to the alert. Heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems should be set to recirculate.

The advisory said if staying indoors does not provide relief, residents are recommended to temporarily leave the area and go to a location where the dust is not visible.

The public is advised to consult their doctor if they are experiencing health problems in an area with blowing dust and sand, the alert said.

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