The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) is issuing an air quality advisory due to the potential for elevated levels of particulate matter from Burro Fire wildfire smoke near Redington Pass in northeast Tucson. Although current levels of particulates report in the “good” to “moderate” range on PDEQ’s air quality monitors, the presence of smoke can be highly localized and might not be captured by the monitors. Also, an expected change in wind direction may transport wildfire smoke to populated areas this evening and tomorrow.
PDEQ encourages individuals to take caution and know if they smell smoke, they are breathing smoke. Individuals with heart and respiratory disease, children, pregnant women and the elderly are especially vulnerable to smoke exposure, although healthy individuals can also be affected. If individuals can smell smoke they may want to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors to decrease the amount of particulates they breathe into their lungs. Staying inside as much as possible, and keeping windows and doors closed can also help reduce exposure to particulate matter.
Updates to the Burro Fire can be found at: www.facebook.com/BurroFireInfo www.twitter.com/burrofireinfo, and https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5301/.
Use PDEQ’s visibility method to protect yourself from wildfire smoke.
Particulate matter is made up of tiny solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in the air we breathe. Small particles from smoke can travel into the respiratory system and cause short-term health effects including eye and respiratory tract irritation to more serious problems including reduced lung function, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, exacerbation of asthma, heart failure and premature death.
PDEQ monitors air pollution in our region at 16 air quality monitoring sites in eastern Pima County. Up-to-the-hour air pollution levels are available in the air monitoring section of the PDEQ website at www.pima.gov/deq. Individuals can sign up to receive Air Quality Advisories and other Pima County Department of Environmental Quality notices directly via email at https://webcms.pima.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=68600.