ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The Environmental Health Department's Air Quality Division is issuing a health alert due to wildfire smoke that may cause elevated particulate matter. This notice is in effect for the following period:
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 5:00 PM
Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Smoke from the Bosque Fire in Corrales could affect Albuquerque through the night and into Thursday morning.
The City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department recommends that all individuals take precautions when outdoors in areas when smoke can be smelled.
During unhealthy periods, the following actions are recommended, especially for individuals sensitive to particulate pollution:
- Keep windows and doors closed. If needed for comfort, use air conditioners or heating systems on recycle/recirculation mode. Avoid using swamp coolers that can circulate outdoor air inside.
- Limit time spent outdoors.
- If symptoms of heart or lung disease occur, (including severe coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness) contact your health care provider.
- Individuals with heart or lung disease should follow their health management plan from their health care provider. Asthmatic individuals should follow a prescribed asthma management plan. If conditions are creating a health emergency, call 911 or seek medical attention at the nearest medical facility.
- Avoid physical activity outdoors.
- Motorist use recirculated air while using air-conditioning during smoke events.
Your eyes are your best tools to determine if it's safe to be outside and visibility can serve as an indicator in determining air quality. People should use the following guide to determine air quality from visibility:
- if visibility is 10 miles and up, the air quality is good; six to nine miles, air quality is moderate; three to five miles, air quality is unhealthy for sensitive people; one and a half to two and a half miles, air quality is unhealthy; one to one and a quarter miles, air quality is very unhealthy; and three quarters of a mile or less, air quality is hazardous.
The procedure for making personal observation to determine smoke concentrations is as follows:
- Face away from the sun·
- Determine the limit of your visibility range by looking for targets at known distances. Visible range is that point at which even the high contrast objects totally disappear·
After determining visibility in miles, use the chart to determine the appropriate visibility category.·
In areas with poor visibility of three to five miles, people with heart or lung disease, the elderly, children, and pregnant women should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion and stay indoors as much as possible. If you have symptoms of lung or heart disease that may be related to excess smoke exposure, including repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, heart palpitations, nausea, unusual fatigue or lightheadedness, contact your health care provider. Also be sure you have the medicines needed for your chronic heart or lung problems.
For more information about the health effects related to smoke from wildfires, go online to https://nmtracking.unm.edu/eh_alerts/ .
For more information about fires in New Mexico go online to http://nmfireinfo.wordpress.com.
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