Area fire update, tips for dealing with smoke

3

Little Devil Fire update
Two forest system roads are  closed today on the San Juan National Forest in association with the Little Devil Fire, now estimated at 25 acres, burning in a remote and rugged area of the San Juan National Forest 3 miles north of the intersection of U.S. 160 and Colo. 151 between Pagosa Springs and Bayfield. Both forest roads No. 627, Devil Mountain Road, and No. 626, which accesses the Devil Creek State Wildlife Area, are now closed until further notice.  Twenty-eight firefighters, two single-engine air tankers and helicopter are working the fire.  A heavy air tanker, eight smokejumpers and another 20-person crew have been ordered. Smoke is visible from U.S. 160 and nearby areas.  No structures are threatened.  The weather forecast calls for hot, dry conditions to continue, at least until the weekend.
Other area fires
A 1-acre fire in Cox Canyon on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation has been contained.  The 200-acre Navajo River Fire, burning east of Chama, N.M., 3 miles south of the Colorado state line, is 20 percent contained. For more information on the Navajo River Fire, call (575) 759-3963.
Smoke advisory
Light to moderate smoke from fires in other western states is affecting the area.
This smoke may contribute to moderate concentrations of fine particulates throughout the region. Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
Smoke from wildfires in the Southwest may cause intermittent periods of haze and restricted visibilities. Please be advised that the resulting regional air quality may cause certain individuals difficulty, especially during strenuous breathing or exercise. These individuals include but are not limited to:
· Elderly persons,
· Young children (especially under the age of seven),
· Pregnant women,
· Individuals with pre-existing respiratory or circulatory conditions,
· Those with smoke allergies,
· Individuals with respiratory infections like colds or flu.
All community members are cautioned to limit prolonged exposure. Some symptoms related to wildfire smoke inhalation include:
· Eye, nose, and/or throat irritation,
· Coughing or sore throat,
· Onset of symptoms related to pre-existing respiratory conditions,
· Trouble breathing, which may be a sign of a health emergency.
San Juan Basin Health Department advises that if visibility is less than 5 miles due to smoke from a wildfire or controlled burn, smoke levels have been reached that are potentially unhealthy. Individuals in our community, particularly those identified above, should take health precautions, especially if experiencing symptoms. If smoke is thick or becomes noticeably thicker in your area you should remain indoors or if possible seek out locations where air is filtered.
Tips to protect yourself:
· If you smell smoke and/or are beginning to experience symptoms, consider temporarily relocating to another area as long as it is safe for you to do so.
· Seek out locations where air is filtered.
· Close windows and doors and stay inside. However, do not close up your home tightly if it makes it dangerously warm inside.
· Only if they are filtered, run the air conditioning, your evaporative cooler, or the fan feature on your home heating system (with the heat turned off). Keep the outdoor air intake closed and be sure the filter is clean. Filtered air typically has less smoke than the air outdoors. Running these appliances if they are not filtered can make indoor smoke worse.
· If you have any HEPA room air filtration units, use them.
· Avoid exercise or other strenuous activities in heavy smoke. If smoke is simply unpleasant or mildly irritating, changing the timing of a few activities may be all that is necessary.
Avoid smoking and/or secondhand smoke, vacuuming, candles and other sources of additional air pollution.
Commercially available dust masks may seem like a good idea, but they do virtually nothing to filter out the particles and gasses in smoke.
As temperatures cool in the evening, inversion conditions worsen and smoke in low-lying areas may become thicker, especially if the outdoor air is still. It tends to be worst near dawn.
Close bedroom windows at night.
To prepare for nighttime smoke, consider airing out your home during the early or middle of the afternoon when smoke tends to be more diluted. Use your best judgment. If smoke is thick during the day, follow the tips above.
If symptoms persist or become more severe, please contact your primary health care provider.
Learn more:
Smoky conditions serve as a reminder to prepare individual plans to stay safe from wildfire and to prepare emergency kits in case of a wildfire emergency. For information about getting prepared, visit: www.colorado.gov/airquality/colo_smoke.aspx.
For more information on health safety visit: www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx.