Due to the risk of elevated levels of smoke in the Pima County area, the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) has issued an air quality watch.
The department says the alert is in response to the potential for smoke levels to go from moderate, where they currently stand, to the high range. According to the PDEQ, there is a risk that air quality monitors might not be able to capture the presence of smoke which can be highly localized. The majority of the smoke is a result of residual smoke from fires in the valley which were extinguished, according to officials.
The PDEQ is urging residents who are at-risk to use caution if they smell smoke as that is an indicator individuals are actually breathing in smoke. Those with heart disease and respiratory issues should reduce exertion, exposure and avoid outdoor exercise it they are near the fires or if they smell smoke. By following these precautions, individuals can lesson the amount of particles they breathe into their lungs.
According to the PDEQ, particulate matter which is tiny specks of soot, aerosols in the air, can come from cars, industry, wildfires, fireplace smoke or dust from disturbed land.
The PDEQ has 16 air quality monitoring sites throughout the county to measure air pollution levels. Residents can go to pima.gov/deq to sign up for air quality advisories and notices.