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  • PDEQ issues Air Quality Health Watch for particulates, June 8

    Jun 08, 2020 | Read More News
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    Bighorn FireThe Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) is issuing an air pollution health watch due to fire smoke from the Bighorn Fire and Tortolita Fire. The potential for elevated levels of particulate matter exist in certain areas of town, particularly Oro Valley, Catalina and north Tucson. Although current levels of particulates report in the “Good” range on PDEQ’s air quality monitors, the presence of smoke can be highly localized and might not be captured by the monitors. According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, a change in wind direction is expected this evening, which will likely transport wildfire smoke into populated areas.

    PDEQ encourages children, older adults and those with heart or lung disease to be cautious and understand that if they can smell smoke, they are breathing smoke. These at-risk individuals are encouraged to reduce their level of exertion and avoid outside activities to decrease the amount of particulates they breathe into their lungs. Wildfire smoke can irritate eyes, the respiratory system and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. If possible, closing doors and windows and running air conditioners with the fresh-air intake closed and filter clean will help prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Visit PDEQ’s website for more information about protecting yourself from fire smoke.

    Particulate matter is made up of tiny specks of soot, dust, and aerosols that are suspended in the air we breathe. It can come from combustion (cars, industry, structural fire, wildfire and fireplace smoke) and dust from disturbed land that becomes airborne with high winds. PDEQ monitors air pollution in our region at 15 air quality monitoring sites. Up-to-the-hour air pollution levels are available online at the PDEQ website www.pima.gov/deq.

    The public can sign up at www.pima.gov/deq to receive Air Quality Advisories and other Pima County Department of Environmental Quality notices directly via email.