Will the San Diego coastline be impacted by the OC oil spill?

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SAN DIEGO — The Orange County oil spill is still spreading in all directions, with environmentalists warning of the oil being carried south — possibly making it to San Diego County.

“If the winds prevail out of the north, which they’ve been blowing out of the north, we also have some underlying wind swell out of the north as well,” said Zach Plopper, the director of Wild Coast, an environmental nonprofit organization. “It could happen, it could be as soon as a few days.“

Plopper said he has dedicated his professional life to keeping the shoreline and natural habitats along the coast clean, adding that oil spills are not new to the California coast. 

“This is postproduction crude oil, so it disperses a lot more, it’s a lot finer than the thick sludgy stuff, so in a way it could spread out and we won’t notice it,” he said.

As for people wanting to help clean up and rescue wildlife, Plopper said leave it to the professionals who are properly protected with biohazard suits.

“There are fumes that are super dangerous to people, it could burn, so just say away from it,” he warned.

Lifeguards are on the lookout for water condition changes and are also anticipating more beachgoers in San Diego, in light of the Orange County beaches being shut down for miles and possibly months.

There have been several major oil spills in California, dating back to the 1960s. Plopper said there is only one solution for oil spills.

“What California needs to do is get off fossil fuel extraction offshore,” Plopper said. “We need to protect our coastline against that.”

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