Fire season is here in Arizona and it's getting off to an early start.
Recently several small fires have popped up around the state and that has officials worried that it is going to be a long and dangerous fire season. With our hot dry conditions and gusty winds this could be a difficult summer.
All fires, including local fires as well as forest fires are huge sources of particulates and can have significant impacts on air quality, visibility and human health. Smoke from forest fires can travel long distances, affecting air quality and human health far from the originating fires. Local fires can affect people in the surrounding area especially if the smoke stays close to the ground.
Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other matter burns. These emissions include:
The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and nose and deep into your lungs, where they can contribute to health problems such as bronchitis and asthma. Fine particles also can aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases and even are linked to premature deaths in people with these conditions.
Most wildfires in the Southwest are started by escaped campfires and discarded cigarettes. Campers in Arizona should use only propane stoves. Developed campsites may not even be safe during windy conditions. Never leave your campsite until the coals are cold on the bottom of the fire pit and please, never toss a burning cigarette and be aware of all smoking and fire restrictions.
In urban areas, do whatever you can to reduce fire hazards such as removing overgrown weeds, replacing frayed wires and storing gasoline and solvents safely.
Please do your part and prevent fires and when Maricopa County has No Burn days or No Burn restrictions, don’t burn wood.