Brins Fire Air Quality Advisory
Due to smoke and ash issues resulting from the Brins Mesa
fire currently burning in the Sedona area, the Coconino County
Health Department has issued air quality advisories as follows:
Sedona: Air is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups. People with
heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce
prolonged or heavy exertion.
Munds Park, Kachina Village and all areas between these
locations: Very Unhealthy. People with heart or lung disease,
older adults, and children should avoid all outdoor physical
activity. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy
Wildfire smoke is primarily made up of small particles,
gases, and water vapor, with trace amounts of hazardous air
pollutants. Most harmful are the particles (or particulate
matter) smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (70 micrometers
is the diameter of a human hair). If these particles are inhaled
deeply into the lungs, they can damage lung tissue and cause
respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
Symptoms from short-term smoke exposure range from scratchy
throat, cough, irritated sinuses, headaches, runny nose, and
stinging eyes to more serious reactions among persons with
asthma, emphysema, congestive heart disease, and other existing
medical conditions. Older adults and children are also high-risk
groups. When smoke levels are dangerously high, the appropriate
protective measures should be followed.
Ways to Protect Your Family's Health from Wildfire Smoke
Pay attention to local air quality reports. Stay alert to any
news coverage or health warnings related to smoke. Local Health
and Emergency Authorities will issue instructions based on the
Environmental Protection Agencyís (EPA) Air Quality Index (AQI).
The AQI, based on data from local air quality monitors, tells
you about the daily air quality in your area and recommends
precautions you can take to protect your health. As smoke gets
worse, the concentration of particles in the air changes - and
so do the steps you should take to protect yourself.
Use visibility guides. Because wildland fire smoke is highly
visible, it is possible to visually estimate smoke levels and
estimate potential health impacts. Generally, the worse the
visibility is, the worse the smoke is.
Use the following guide for determining air quality:
- Face away from the sun.
- Determine the limit of your visibility range by looking
for targets at known distances (miles). Visibility range is
the point at which even high contrast objects totally
Use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it is probably
not a good time for outdoor activities. And it's probably not a
good time for your children to play outdoors.
If you feel ill as a result of wildfire smoke, regardless of
the AQI level, take necessary precautions: stay indoors, use a
HEPA filter, and limit your activities. Contact your health care
provider for additional instructions.
If you are advised to stay indoors, keep your windows and
doors closed. Make sure air conditioning units have a clean
filter in the air intakes. Devices with High Efficiency
Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can reduce the indoor pollution.
Do not add to indoor air pollution. Donít use anything that
burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves, or even
candles. Donít vacuum; that stirs up particles already inside
your home. Donít smoke; that puts even more pollution in your
lungs, and in the lungs of people around you.
Dust masks arenít enough! Common masks will not protect your
lungs from small particles in smoke. HEPA masks may filter out
the small particles but are not suitable for people with lung
diseases. Those with lung diseases should follow your
respiratory management plan. Call your doctor if symptoms
Visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website at
http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/oeh/wildfire.htm for additional
information regarding the dangers of wildfire smoke and wildfire
preparedness. For other personal preparedness information, log