The Wallow Fire wildfire burning in eastern Arizona has quickly become the states second largest wildfire and is starting to cause problems for residents of many surrounding states. According to a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Denver, a ridge of high pressure is carrying the smoke as far away as central Iowa. He also said the smoke was hitting eastern Colorado as well as New Mexico, Nebraska and Kansas.
The Arizona Department of Health Services has a great list of ways to protect yourself and your family from wildfire smoke:
Pay attention to local air quality reports: Pay attention to any local news coverage or health warnings that are related to the wildfire smoke. Most news reports will issue warnings and give suggested tips for how to handle the current level of smoke.
Use visibility guidelines: It can be difficult to monitor smoke from wildfires because the fires usually occur in remote areas but the smoke from these fires is generally highly visible. Generally, the worse the visibility is, the worse the smoke is.
Use common sense: If it looks smoky outside, you should avoid outdoor activities. Also, it is not a good time to send children or pets outside to play.
If you are advised to stay indoors: Keep all windows and doors closed. Check your air conditioner to make sure the air filter is clean.
Don't add to indoor air pollution: Don't use anything that burns including fireplaces and candles. Vacuuming can stir up particles already inside your home so you should avoid it. Don't smoke; it will put even more pollution in your lungs and the air around you.
Dust masks aren't enough: Regular dust masks won't protect your lungs from the small particles in smoke. N95 Masks will filter out 95% of particulate in the air which will protect your lungs from many of the smaller particles that you could be breathing.