The SMC Department of Health and Environment is issuing a smoke advisory due to smoke from the 416 and Burro fires south of Telluride. Smoke from these fires is drifting northeasterly and the eastern part of San Miguel County can expect periods of moderate to heavy smoke through this afternoon. Smoke from the Trail Mountain fire in Utah is also causing hazy skies in the western half of the county.
During periods of dense smoke, it is recommended that you stay indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly. If the smoke is reducing visibility to five miles or less, it has reached levels that are unhealthy.
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.
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