Advisory in Effect: 8:00 AM MDT, Tuesday, July 31, 2018 to 9:00 AM MDT, Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issues an Air Quality Health Advisory for our area. Multiple wildfires in southwestern Colorado, including those near Montrose, are contributing to poor air quality across the region. Those who are most likely to be affected by smoke are the elderly, the very young, and those with pre-existing respiratory problems or heart disease.
The San Miguel Department of Health and Environment would like to remind you that there are ways to help reduce exposure to smoke. During periods of dense smoke, it is recommended that you stay indoors. 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.
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:
APCD Facebook page
APCD Twitter feed
APCD air quality advisory website
Sign up for air quality email alerts
• 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