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TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) A wet winter can result in active wildfires as grasses begin to dry out, creating a natural bed of fuel for brush fires.
With the Williams Fire sparking Monday in Palominas, air quality has been poor with hazy conditions around southeastern Arizona. Most people will want to minimize time outdoors in these conditions, and take care to keep windows closed and not circulate outside air inside your homes and automobiles.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) says to use the 5-3-1 rule to determine air quality when information from the Air Quality Index is unavailable. ADEQ says face away from the sun and observe how far you can see:
Visibility at five miles When visibility is less than five miles, air quality is considered unhealthy for young children, adults older than 65, pregnant women and people with hearth and respiratory illness. Minimize or cancel outdoor activity for these at-risk groups. Adults without health concerns should be okay outdoors, but should reduce strenuous activity and continue to monitor visibility. Visibility at three miles When visibility is less than three miles, at-risk groups defined above should stay indoors and avoid going outdoors, even for errands. Outdoor recreational activities should be canceled for all, regardless of age or health status. Visibility at one mile When visibility is less than a mile, ADEQ says the air quality is unhealthy for all people. Everyone, regardless of age or health status should remain indoors as much as possible, with the exception of evacuation orders.
ADEQ says if you feel you may be experiencing health effects as a result of exposure to smoke inhalation, reduce your outdoor exposure and consult a health professional as needed.
More information from ADEQ is available online in the brochure ‘Fires, Smoke & Your Health,’ downloadable through the Cochise County website.