June 19, 2012, noon

San Luis Valley–

Wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico continue to affect air quality in the San Luis Valley. Wildfire smoke contains pollutants that can be harmful to health. Particles from smoke tend to be very small and can therefore be inhaled into the deepest recesses of the lung and may represent a greater health concern than larger particles. Even in healthy people, this can cause temporary reductions in lung function and pulmonary inflammation. Particulate matter can also affect the body’s immune system. In general, if people can see or smell smoke, it is recommended that they avoid outdoor physical activities. If visibility is decreased to less than five miles, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy.

People should follow their doctor’s advice about medicines and about their respiratory management plan if they have asthma or another lung disease and should call their doctor if their symptoms worsen.

  • Air quality updates are available at http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/advisory.aspx.
  • Fire updates are available at http://www.inciweb.org
  • If you would like to receive Emergency Code Red Warnings on your home or cell phone, register your phone at https://cne.coderedweb.com/

For any further questions or concerns please call or visit your County Public Health Agency.

—Linda Smith, Public Information Officer, Public Health/SLV Emergency Preparedness & Response