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Ojai air is beyond hazardous after Thomas fire

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Ojai Valley News photo by Tim Dewar
Officials are recommending against outdoor exercise, like this man who rode his bike through the smoke-filled town Dec. 6, until the air quality improves.
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
As a result of the Thomas Fire, that began Dec. 4 near Santa Paula, the air in the Ojai Valley is extremely hazardous, according to Phil Moyal, an air quality specialist with the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (VCAPCD). “It's beyond the hazardous category at this point,” he said. 
Moyal said the best way to protect against inhaling hazardous air is to leave the valley. 
For those who plan to stay put, he advised using a respirator mask labelled P100 or N95 when outdoors. Surgical masks and bandanas are not very effective in protecting against particulate air pollution, he said.
While indoors, VCAPCD officials advise running an air conditioner if possible. 
If you turn your air conditioner on, ensure the filter is clean and fresh air intake is closed. Also, make sure to close all windows and doors that lead outside to prevent additional smoke from coming indoors.
VCAPCD officials further advise that all affected by hazardous air conditions avoid vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion. 
People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should remain indoors, according to VCAPCD.
Moyal said he did not expect the air quality to improve significantly “for the next couple of days.”
Visit http://www.vcapcd.org for further air quality information from VCAPCD.
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