Warnings issued over smoke from 2 wildfires

Warnings issued over smoke from 2 wildfires

05 May 2011

published by azstarnet.com

USA — State and local officials have issued smoke advisories for southeastern Arizona because of two wildfires burning south of Tucson.

The advisories warn people with respiratory problems, the young and elderly to curtail outdoor activities while smoke is in the area.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued a general smoke advisory Wednesday for Pima, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties.

The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality also issued an advisory for the county.

The state’s advisory was issued because of northward smoke movement from a Mexican wildfire about 10 miles southeast of Nogales, Sonora, according to the agency.

The smoke, along with pollen, dust and high winds, could cause health problems for people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems.

Also, high temperatures in the Tucson area – in the mid- to upper 90s through Sunday – will be about 10 degrees above normal for this time of year. Winds will be between 5 and 15 mph over the next several days, according to the National Weather Service.

There are two wildfires burning in Southern Arizona:

• The Bull Fire was burning Wednesday on both sides of the Arizona-Mexico border.

More than 9,700 acres have burned on the Arizona side, with 95 percent of the blaze contained, the Coronado National Forest said.

• The Greaterville Fire, has burned about 1,825 acres near the Rosemont Ranch, north of Sonoita. That fire was 90 percent contained.

Firefighters are patrolling and mopping up both areas.

Smoke from these fires is not the only worry for people with asthma and respiratory problems.

The high winds are also carrying pollen and dust, making things “very irritating” for people with asthma, lung disease and allergies, said Dr. George Makol of Alvernon Allergy and Asthma.

“It’s definitely having an adverse effect on people,” Makol said.

Makol is seeing up to five new patients each day because of the conditions, he said.

“The pollen season started late. Around April 1, everything really came back with a vengeance,” he said.

People who are vulnerable to these conditions should stay indoors and run the air conditioners in their homes, he said.

“It’s not a good time to be raking the lawn or moving furniture into the shed,” he said.

They should also roll the windows up and turn on the air conditioning in their cars if they go out, he said.

If their symptoms get worse, they should call their doctor as soon as possible, he said.


The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality recommends that children, the elderly and those of all ages with respiratory problems avoid outdoor activities between now and Saturday if wildfire smoke is affecting their areas.

If someone smells smoke and is negatively impacted, the agency says to:

• Consider temporarily relocating to another area as long as it is safe to do so.

• If you are indoors, stay there with doors and windows closed.

• Do not use an evaporative cooler while smoke is present in the area. Run the air conditioning or the fan feature on your home cooling system so that the filter can remove smoke. If you have a separate room filtration system, that can also be used to reduce smoke.

• Reduce physical activity.

• If respiratory symptoms persist or become more severe, contact your primary health-care provider.

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