Wildfires continue to rage across parts of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, particularly fueled by the drought these states have been experiencing. These wildfires have been a safety concern causing many evacuations. We are grateful for all of the firefighters, first responders, and other officials that have been tracking and battling the fires to keep these communities safe.
Wildfires can be detrimental to our health too. When particles from the smoke enter the eyes and respiratory system, they can cause burning eyes, runny noses, and bronchitis, among other illnesses. Additionally, they can magnify chronic conditions such as heart and lung diseases, including asthma, angina, emphysema, and congestive heart failure.
Certain populations are more susceptible to these dangers than others. Older adults, children, and people suffering from heart and lung disease need to be especially prudent in avoiding contact with smoke.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from the hazards of wildfire smoke:
Pay attention to air quality information: This website from the state of New Mexico contains important information related to the wildfires and air quality.
Stay indoors when advised to: Keep apprised of local news and when officials advise you to stay indoors, follow their guidance.
Consider buying an air cleaner: The EPA has an entire page dedicated to information on air cleaners to prevent indoor air pollution. It may be a good investment, particularly if you have children or people with chronic conditions living in your home.
Use common sense: If you can see the smoke outdoors, limit time spent outdoors and keep windows and doors tightly shut to avoid letting harmful particles into your home.