Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Air Time: Okanogan health officials warn of smoke dangers

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program

Okanogan County Public Health has issued a health advisory warning people about the risks of breathing smoke from wildfires burning in neighboring Chelan and Douglas counties.

Here’s the text of the advisory:

August 7, 2012
To: Media Source
Subject: Forest Fire Public Service Announcement (PSA)

This Public service announcement is provided in response to the current fire conditions existing in Okanogan.

As smoke from two fires burning in Chelan and Douglas counties moves over Okanogan County, individuals most sensitive or susceptible to airborne particulates such as infants and young children, the elderly, pregnant women, diabetics or those with pre-existing lung and cardiovascular conditions may be experiencing considerable discomfort. Occasional periods of poor air quality are expected in Okanogan County this week with smoke-related particulates reaching a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. According to the latest Smoke Management/Weather forecast information available, these periods of poor air quality are expected to occur intermittently through the week.

To alleviate or mitigate some of the smoke’s effects take the following measures: Stay indoors with the windows closed. Use the recycle or re-circulate setting on your vehicle’s air conditioner. During hot weather if you do not have air conditioning then consider visiting a place that does, such as a friend’s house, relative’s house, or a public library. Don’t smoke and try to avoid physical exertion. Lastly, if you experience symptoms of cardiovascular or lung problems contact your health care provider. If you cannot reach your health care provider call 911.

More information is available concerning air quality and current fire conditions at the following websites:

Ecology: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/Default.ltr.aspx

Forest Service: http://inciweb.org/

Should you have any questions regarding this matter please contact our office at (509) 422-7140. Our normal office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30am to 4:30pm.

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