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Rifle, CO Colorado

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August 17, 2012
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Wildfire smoke advisory issued for Garfield County

As a result of the recent wildfire activity in the western United States, Garfield County has recently been exceeding the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for fine particulate matter over the past 24 hours.

Moderate levels of smoke are expected in the Colorado River Valley between Palisade and Carbondale, including Parachute, Rifle, Silt, New Castle, and Glenwood Springs. Fine particulate matter levels are expected to be in the moderate-to-unhealthy for sensitive groups category throughout the weekend.

The Colorado Department Public Health and Environment has issued a Wildfire Smoke Health Advisory for the Colorado River Valley. If visibility is less than five miles in your neighborhood, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy.

"This is a great reminder for anyone who has not signed up for alerts on the garco911.org site, to do so now. It just takes a moment to register and begin receiving emergency communications alerts," said Paul Reaser, environmental health program manager. "It is also helpful for people to keep monitoring local air conditions to better understand the risks."

Garfield County has real-time local air quality information available on www.garfield-county.com/air-quality/index.aspx.

Air quality advisories are issued by local state health officials.These advisories can help you better assess the outdoor conditions and whether you should be going outside. When fine particulate matter is in the unhealthy for sensitive group category, people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should limit time outside.

Smoke from forest and grass fires contains particles that can cause symptoms that include:

• Difficulty breathing normally,

• Cough with or without mucus,

• Chest discomfort, and

• Wheezing and shortness of breath.

Smoke can also worsen cardiac disease, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.

If wildfire smoke is triggering mild symptoms, National Jewish Health doctors recommend:

• Taking your medications as prescribed,

• Using your rescue inhaler if your doctor has recommended one,

• Staying indoors as much as possible,

• Limiting exercise outdoors,

• Considering leaving the area if smoke is making you sick, until the air is clear again, and

• Consulting your physician if respiratory or chest symptoms become severe.

For the latest local conditions, visit www.garfield-county.com/air-quality/index.aspx. Condition meters are posted at the bottom of the home page of the county website as well.

For the latest Colorado statewide conditions, forecasts, and advisories, visit www.colorado.gov/airquality/colorado_summary.aspx.

For the latest Smoke Outlook, visit: www.colorado.gov/airquality/addendum.aspx#smoke.

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The Post Independent Updated Aug 17, 2012 06:36PM Published Aug 17, 2012 06:26PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.