Column: Protecting yourself from wildfire smoke
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Smoke from the Rafael and Snake Fires continue to affect several communities in the southern part of Coconino County including areas south of 1-40 and west of I-17.
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.
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.
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 healthcare provider 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.
Due to the Rafael Fire, all areas south of 1-40, west of I-17, including Westwood Estates, Camp Navajo, Equestrian Estates, Flagstaff Ranch, Upper Oak Creek Canyon west of 89, University Heights, Mountain Dell, Kachina Village, Forest Highlands, Pine Del, Woody Mountain Road south of I-40, Garland Prairie and Pine Aire Estates and residents in between are in SET status.
As a result of the Snake Fire, residents of Happy Jack Lodge, Clear Creek Pines 1 and 2, Mahan Park, Poor Farm, and Fisher Properties are in SET status, which is pre-evacuation status.
Current information regarding is available at www.coconino.az.gov/2021FireInfo. This page includes links to Ready-Set-Go status, Inciweb fire status information, press releases and more. For questions, please contact the Call Center at 928-679-8647 between 7:00 a.m. & 9:00 p.m.
Sign up for Emergency Notifications at www.coconino.az.gov/ready. Visit https://coconino.az.gov/DocumentCenter/View/995/Wildfire-and-Prescribed-Burn-Smoke?bidId= for additional information on wildfire smoke.
Information provided by Coconino County