As the 416 and Burro Fires continue to burn, Durango and surrounding areas have been covered in a thick layer of smoke. Wildfire smoke is a complex mix of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic materials burn. These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into your lungs. They can cause a range of health problems, from burning eyes and a runny nose to aggravated chronic heart and lung diseases. The best thing to do is limit your exposure to smoke, but there are additional steps you can take to reduce the effects of smoke:
- Keep your indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. Use a HEPA filter to reduce indoor air pollution. Avoid smoking, using wood-burning stoves, burning candles, or vacuuming.
- Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors when moderate or heavy smoke is present.
- Do not rely on paper or dust masks for protection. Particulate masks known as N95 or P100 respirators properly worn may offer some protection.
- Only if they are filtered, run your A/C or swamp cooler. Keep the outdoor air intake closed and be sure the filter is clean.
- Pay attention to local air pollution reports. For real-time monitoring of air quality, visit the San Juan Basin Public Health 416 Fire Page.