Wildfire smoke may aggravate existing conditions

In the aftermath of the Tenderfoot wildfire that has burned more than 3,300 acres in Yarnell, surrounding communities that include Peeples Valley and Wilhoit can expect to experience heavy periods of smoke, according to the Yavapai County Community Health Services.

Prescott and Prescott Valley may also experience heavier smoke in the morning and late evening hours, according to a Health Services news release

Yavapai County Emergency Management states that smoke levels in the Prescott area now are considered good, but smoke particles may increase depending on weather conditions.

Air quality monitors in the Verde Valley are reporting moderate readings, with conditions expected to persist until after the wildfire is extinguished.

People with heart disease, lung disease or asthma, as well as the elderly and young children, are advised to avoid the outdoors, keep windows closed and operate air conditioners to maintain proper air flow and reduce any adverse effects from outside conditions, health and emergency officials said on Friday.

Symptoms of smoke exposure include burning eyes, runny nose, scratchy throats, headaches, dizziness and nausea, the release said.

During times when smoke levels are high, generally in the evening hours, residents are advised to avoid cooking and vacuuming, activities that can increase indoor pollutants and to avoid physical exertion, the release said.

Towels can be placed around windows and door cracks to prevent smoke from entering homes.

When smoke levels are high, Health Services officials state that even those without respiratory ailments can incur symptoms and other health problems.

If they persist, or if chronic conditions worsen, the Health Services department recommends individuals seek medical attention or consult their doctors.

For air quality ratings, check the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality website at: www.azdeq.gov. For the latest wildfire information, visit www.wildfireaz.com.