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Public Urged To Stay Away From Santa Barbara Oil Spill As Crews Work To Minimize Environmental Impact

GOLETA, Calif. (CBS SF) -- As the environmental impact from Tuesday's oil spill near Santa Barbara grows dire, environmental groups are urging the public not to rush out to save wildlife afftected by the spill.

As much as the photos of oil-coated birds is prompting worried onlookers to try and do what they can to help, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at UC Davis already have hundreds of pre-trained volunteers ready to help at a moment's notice.

Dana Roeber Murray with Heal The Bay said people eager to help but unfamiliar with wildlife could end up hurting animals, or have animals inadvertently hurt them.

Murray also notes that oil is a toxin that people should not come into contact with. She says the best thing to do is alert the Oiled Wildlife Care at 877-823-6926 if you encounter wildlife affected by the pill and to ask about future volunteer training opportunities.

To learn more about the impact of oil drilling on California's coastline and current legislation to close the oil drilling loophole, visit Heal The Bay's website.

VIDEO: California oil spill threatening ocean wildlife

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Tuesday's pipeline rupture happened on the same stretch of coastline as a 1969 spill that is credited with giving rise to the American environmental movement.

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