Chris Sexton, Apache County Public Health Director
Air Quality and Wildfire Smoke
Apache County is experiencing smoke from fires in Oregon and Washington due to the Pacific Northwest Jet Stream. The following information is to help the public respond to smoke issues.
Particulate matter is a component of smoke from wildfires and consists of fine such as soot and ash that can reach deep into the lungs and may contain irritating and toxic compounds. Some of the symptoms related to exposure to smoke from wildfires include:
- Eye, nose, mouth and/or throat irritation;
- Trouble breathing;
- Tightness of the chest; and/or
- The onset of symptoms related to pre-existing respiratory ailments like asthma or emphysema.
If smoke from wildfires 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, 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.
- Reduce your physical activity level. Do not exercise.
- If symptoms persist or become more severe, please contact your primary health care provider – even persons considered healthy can experience symptoms when exposed to smoke from wildfires!
There are a few population groups considered especially at risk from exposure to smoke from wildfires.
- Elderly persons;
- Young children (especially children 7 and under);
- Individuals with pre-existing health conditions like asthma, emphysema, and cardiovascular disease; and Individuals with respiratory infections like colds or flu.
The ADEQ Springerville smoke monitor is operational and can be viewed at http://www.phoenixvis.net/PPMmain.aspx.