Air Quality Health Advisory for Wildfire Smoke
Issued for portions of west-central and southwestern Colorado
Issued at 8:00 AM MDT, Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Affected Area: portions of west-central and southwestern Colorado, including Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, Dolores, San Juan, Hinsdale, Mineral, Montezuma, La Plata, and Archuleta Counties. Locations and points of interest include, but are not limited to Grand Junction, Montrose, Ouray, Telluride, Dove Creek, Silverton, Lake City, Creede, Cortez, Durango, and Pagosa Springs.
Advisory in Effect: 8:00 AM MDT, Wednesday, August 8, 2018 to 9:00 AM MDT, Thursday, August 9, 2018.
Public Health Recommendations: If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly. Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present. Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill. If visibility is less than 5 miles in smoke in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy.
Outlook: Widespread smoke from several in-state and out-of-state fires is impacting sections of west-central and southwestern Colorado. Periods of moderate to heavy smoke can be expected Wednesday through Thursday morning within the advisory area, especially in areas near local wildfires. The highest impacted areas will include locations close to the Carpenter and the Bull Draw Fires near the Montrose/Mesa County line, and the Plateau Fire near the Dolores/Montezuma County line.
For the latest Smoke Outlook, visit:
For more information about smoke and your health, visit:
For the latest Colorado statewide air quality conditions, forecasts, and advisories, visit:
The San Miguel Department of Health and Environment would like to remind you that there are ways to help reduce exposure to smoke. Residents are advised to take the following precautions to stay healthy:
- Avoid heavy outdoor exertion such as running or other forms of exercise.
- Keep your indoor air clean and stay inside.
- Close your doors and windows and turn off systems that ventilate air from outside in.
- You can run your air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean.
- If you do not have an air conditioner and it’s too warm to stay inside without your swamp cooler on or windows closed, seek shelter with a friend or family member with a closed air circulation system.
- Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. You want to keep your indoor air as clean as possible.
- Do not vacuum. It stirs up dust in your home.
- Do not smoke tobacco in your home.
- Do not burn candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves.
- Don’t rely on dust masks for protection.
- Paper masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, like sawdust. They won’t protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke. An N95 respirator is your best bet if you work outside or feel a face mask is necessary.
- Contact your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about your health.
Because of the current drought conditions, we will likely have to deal with smoke pollution all summer. Please come up with a plan to protect yourself and your family and be ready to use it. More suggestions and tips can be found on the EPA Wildfire Smoke Factsheet.
Also, you should always have an evacuation plan in the event of a wildfire. You should know what to pack, as well as your evacuation route and destination. To sign up for CodeRED alerts from San Miguel County, please visit bit.ly/WestRegionCo-CodeRED. To find out more information about our Department of Health and Environment, please visit https://www.sanmiguelcountyco.gov/173/Health-Environment. For current information on the fires burning in Montrose County, please visit http://www.westslopefireinfo.com/ or https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.
Additional links and helpful resources can be found below:
• Get air quality information: Check your local news, the airnow.gov website, or https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/default.aspx
• Learn about home air cleaners: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/guide-air-cleaners-home
• Learn how to use an N95 respirator mask: http://www.bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov/Documents/Protect%20Your%20Lungs%20Respirator.pdf
• Learn more about wildfire smoke: How Smoke from Fires Can Affect Your Health: https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=smoke.index