SANTA FE – The New Mexico Departments of Health (NMDOH) and Environment have issued a smoke alert due to smoke from the Telegraph and Mescal Fires east of Phoenix, Ariz., and from residual smoke from fires in New Mexico.
Impacts will be over portions of northwestern and central New Mexico this week, with smoke expected to be more pronounced overnight.
Potentially impacted communities include Gallup, Farmington, Navajo Nation, the Pueblo of Zuni and surrounding communities, in addition to Albuquerque and Santa Fe metropolitan areas. Communities in the central Rio Grande Valley south of Albuquerque also may be affected.
Since these impacts are expected to occur overnight, taking precautions such as closing windows at night and turning off swamp coolers protect residents with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease, or lung cancer, heart disease, adults over age 65, young children, and pregnant women if smoke concentrations become unhealthy.
Smoke from wildfires may cause people to have more severe reactions if they have COVID-19. The best way to protect against the potentially harmful effects of wildfire smoke is to stay home and create a clean indoor air space.
NMDOH offers indoor air quality tips online at https://nmtracking.org/. Click on the Environment tab and select Air Quality.
Your eyes are your best tools to determine if it is safe to be outside. Use the 5-3-1 Method. If visibility is:
Under 5 miles, the air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness. Outdoor activity should be minimized.
Around 3 miles, young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should avoid all outdoor activities.
Around 1 mile, the air quality is unhealthy for everyone. People should remain indoors and avoid all outdoor activities including running errands. Unless an evacuation order has been issued, stay inside your home, indoor workplace, or in a safe shelter.