FOX13 News - Wildfires up, air quality down: Is your health at risk?

Published on Jul 12, 2018

FOX13 News - Wildfires up, air quality down: Is your health at risk?

Wildfires burning around the state are starting to take a toll on our air quality, creating short and long-term health concerns for residents.

When wildfires spark up, air quality goes down.

“The air quality is better inside right now than it is outside,” Dr. Nathan Dean, the section chief of pulmonary care medicine at Intermountain Medical Center said.

If you look outside, you can smell it and you can definitely see it.

“The smoke from those comes into the Salt Lake Valley,” Dean said.

“Wildfires, it’s a different type of impact,” Donna Camp Spangler with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) said. “It’s that soot.”

The fires cause what's known as particulate matter, or PM 2.5; a type of pollution that commonly comes from factories and cars.

“Those particular particles actually stick right in the lungs,” Dean said.

Based on the DEQ’s air monitoring system, most of the state saw concerning PM 2.5 levels on and off throughout the day Friday.

Some areas experienced a yellow or orange level, meaning the air's dangerous for certain groups of people.

“The elderly, the very young and those with underlying conditions are more susceptible,” Dean said.

For everyone else, a red level day would give reason for concern, meaning the air is dangerous for everyone.

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