Eerie, smoke-filled skies this week for Central Coast

Sep 10, 2020

With 28 major wildfires burning across California, most of the state is dealing with orange, smoke-filled skies and falling ash.

"It’s kind of like a Batman movie," said Josh Whitaker, who is visiting family in Grover Beach. "Real dreary, post-apocalyptic.”

Whitaker and his wife live in Santa Cruz County and they said they just can’t seem to escape the smoke-filled skies.

“At this point, we are kind of used to it," Whitaker said. "We’re just dealing with it. We know it’s temporary.”

Air quality is expected to change daily, yet Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties reported moderate-to-good air quality Wednesday, despite the eerie look in the skies.

“What we are seeing is that the smoke is really high aloft," Megan Field with the SLO County Air Pollution Control District said. "It’s not down at the ground level.”

Field said that could change later this week.

“I think people can go about their day as they normally would," Field said. "But if they start to smell smoke, or seeing ash fall, that’s when I would head back indoors.”

Field said for now, ash will fall periodically this week. With it covering vehicles, car washing businesses are busy.

Stacey Palomar, manager at Sunset North Carwash in Arroyo Grande, advises not to leave the ash on your car, especially when there is morning fog or drizzle.

“When the ash mixes with any type of moisture or water, that’s when it creates that chemical reaction, which is called potassium hydroxide," Palomar said. "Which is pretty much like pouring drain cleaner on your car.”

Palomar also warned that just rubbing it off with a dry rag could scratch your car. She recommends hand washing it and making sure the car is dry before its back outside.

“Even if you’ve got to wash the car twice in a week, just get it off your car," Palomar said. "After you wash it try and garage it. Try to keep it somewhere where ash won’t fall back on it.”