EL PASO, Texas – The multiple wildfires burning at this time in different parts of New Mexico, have forced evacuations and created smoke-induced air quality concerns.  That is why the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) urge the public to consider current air quality safety and preparation this week.

The current weather conditions have pushed smoke from the ground to higher elevations, creating visibly hazy conditions, this based on current information from air quality monitoring systems.

“Smoke exposure can aggravate conditions such as asthma, a chronic lung disease, or cardiovascular disease,” said David R. Scrase, M.D. Acting Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health.

DOH and NMED encourage residents to protect themselves by learning more about available resources and ways to maintain air quality safety:

  • Healthcare facilities, schools, businesses, and other gathering places should take steps to become clean air shelters or identify clean air shelters in the community. Home and community clean air shelters protect public health during wildfire smoke events.
  • Replacing HVAC filters in air conditioners annually will help keep smoke out of buildings. 
  • Setting home air conditioning units to ‘recirculate’ during fire events will deter smoke from entering the house. 
  • Room-size air cooling systems that don’t utilize outside air can be used to cool the space while preventing hazardous air from entering. 

Consider, that although COVID-19 cases have declined, being in indoor public spaces may increase your risk for COVID-19 exposure. If you have health conditions, are elderly, or are pregnant, consider wearing a mask if you must seek shelter. 

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