The Coconino County Public Health Services District (CCPHSD) has issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for residents in the Blue Ridge community due to smoke from the Tinder Fire. The fire continues to produce a large amount of smoke which is expected to move towards Winslow.
The Blue Ridge- area will have periodic smoke impacts which are unhealthy for sensitive and at-risk groups of people. Smoke may be heavy in low laying sections of Hwy 87 overnight. Hot and dry conditions through the week will result in poor smoke dispersion over the fire. The worst time for smoke impacts will be from sunset to sunrise. The overnight hours will bring very high smoke impacts as it settles in. Daytime hours should see improved conditions.
Wildfire smoke is primarily made up of gases and microscopic particles called particulate matter (PM). If PM is inhaled deeply into the lungs, it can damage lung tissue and cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems. The smallest particles are the most harmful. Smoke may also contain toxic air pollutants, depending upon the fuel sources. Smoke also contributes to local and regional haze and can impair the enjoyment of the outdoors.
Symptoms from short-term smoke exposure range from scratchy throat, cough, irritated sinuses, headaches, runny nose, and stinging eyes to more serious reactions among persons with asthma, emphysema, congestive heart disease, and other existing medical conditions. Older adults and children are also high-risk groups. When smoke levels are dangerously high, the appropriate protective measures should be followed.
If you see, smell or taste smoke and it is affecting you and your family consider some of the following actions:
- If you smell smoke and/or are beginning to experience symptoms, consider temporarily locating to another area as long as it is safe for you to do so.
- Move indoors and stay there with doors and windows closed.
- Run the air conditioning or the fan feature on your home heating system with the heat turned off. The filtration systems on home systems can provide some benefit.
- Run room air filtration units.
- Do not add to indoor air pollution. Don’t use anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves, or even candles. Don’t vacuum; that stirs up particles already inside your home. Don’t smoke; that puts even more pollution in your lungs, and in the lungs of people around you.
- Reduce your physical activity. Do not exercise.
If symptoms persist or become more severe, contact your healthcare provider. Even persons considered healthy can experience symptoms when exposed to smoke.
Visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website at http://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/extreme-weather/index.php#wildfires-evacuees for additional information regarding the dangers of wildfire smoke and wildfire preparedness. For information regarding personal preparedness visit www.coconino.az.gov/health.