Heavy smoke from prescribed burns affecting Yavapai County
Officials recommend taking measures to protect lungs
Northerly winds have pushed a significant amount of smoke into the quad-cities area from prescribed burning taking place on the Kaibab National Forest just south of Williams.
In such conditions, Yavapai County Community Health Services (YCCHS) recommends limiting or completely avoiding outdoor activity, according to a YCCHS news release.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality monitors indicated “Good” air quality Thursday afternoon, Oct. 24, but the visible smoke lingering in the area can easily enter lungs and irritate eyes, the release states. High concentrations of airborne particles from smoke can cause persistent cough, wheezing and physical discomfort.
People who are more sensitive to the harmful effects of smoke include those with heart or respiratory disease, young children and the elderly, the release states. Because children have smaller lungs and breathing airways, the introduction of small particles from smoke can easily congest their airways or cause irritation and inflammation. Children playing outside may have higher exposure due to the combination of their less developed lungs and their higher activity level.
Older persons can have more difficulty clearing particles from their lungs and may have underlying lung and heart conditions.
With that in mind, here are some precautions YCCHS recommends people take while smoky conditions persist:
• Use the recycle or re-circulation mode on the air conditioner in homes or cars.
• Stay inside and keep windows and doors closed.
• Avoid or reduce outdoor physical exertion. Keep young children from playing outdoors.
• Keep airways moist by drinking lots of water. Breathing through a wet washcloth can also help relieve dryness.
• Contact your doctor or health care provider if you have symptoms such as chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue. This is important even for persons who think they are in good health; some may have undiagnosed lung or heart disease.
Fire officials have reported that the burning operations to the north will end Thursday and that smoky conditions should clear up in the coming days.