Smoke from the Slide Fire located south of Flagstaff in Oak Creek Canyon continues to affect several communities in Northern Arizona.
Wildfire smoke is a mixture of small particles, gases and water vapor. The primary health concern is the small particles. Not everyone who is exposed to smoke will have health problems. Many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to smoke. These factors include the level, extent, and duration of exposure, age, and individual susceptibility.
Anyone who can see, taste or smell smoke should curtail outdoor activity. People with heart disease, lung disease or asthma should avoid the outdoors entirely, as should children and the elderly.
Typical symptoms of exposure to smoke include burning eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, headaches, dizziness and nausea.
Closing windows and turning off evaporative coolers when smoke is present helps to reduce exposure to the smoke and should be adequate to protect persons without respiratory problems.
People with pre-existing conditions should avoid exposure to the smoke as much as possible, and consult their physician if they have any questions.
When smoke levels are high, the appropriate protective measures should be followed.
- Stay inside with windows and doors shut.
- Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
- Avoid cooking and vacuuming, which can increase pollutants indoors.
- Avoid physical exertion.
Visit www.coconino.az.gov/health for more information.
You can also visit the website for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) at http://www.phoenixvis.net/PPMmain.aspx