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Home News Smoke Advisories in Effect for Impacts to Northern New Mexico
Paul Rhien
505-470-2290 Office

Smoke Advisories in Effect for Impacts to Northern New Mexico

June 19, 2017 - Air Quality - Alert

Smoke Advisories in Effect for Potential Impacts to Areas of Northern New Mexico Wildfire Smoke May Present Health Hazards for Residents Near El Cajete and Bonita Fires

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) are issuing the following smoke advisories and urging residents to take precautions to protect their health from the hazards of wildfire smoke.

Bonita Fire

The smoke advisory issued Wednesday due to smoke from the lightning-caused Bonita Fire is still in effect through Friday. The upper Rio Grande Valley may continue to be impacted by smoke during nighttime and morning hours.

The Bonita Fire in the Carson National Forest is being managed by the (US) Forest Service and has grown to 4,000 acres. Fire managers have completed burning operations Thursday and Friday in order to secure the fire’s perimeter.  The fire is 25% contained.

Residents of Vallecitos Canyon, Ojo Caliente, and Española and surrounding communities are encouraged to close their windows overnight Friday and keep them closed until late Saturday morning or until smoke lifts and visibility improves to about five miles.  Smoldering will still cause smoke to be put in the air throughout the weekend, even after burning operations are complete. Smoke concentrations are expected to be lower by the beginning of next week.

Residents of Vallecitos Canyon and Ojo Caliente with respiratory or heart disease, adults 65 and older, young children, and pregnant women should considering relocating until air quality improves. Smoke can irritate the respiratory system, and intensify chronic heart and lung problems.

El Cajete Fire

With the El Cajete Fire burning in the Jemez Mountains, additional smoke is being released into the air, further degrading air quality.

High smoke impacts are expected for Jemez Springs, Los Alamos, and White Rock over the next few days. Smoke impacts may be high overnight Friday. Residents with sensitivity to smoke are urged to close windows through Saturday morning or until air quality improves. Smoke forecasts are expected to change as the El Cajete Fire continues to develop.

The El Cajete Fire on the Jemez Ranger District has grown to 700 acres. The cause of the fire is unknown. The fire is 0% contained.

Updates will be posted on the New Mexico Fire Information website at the New Mexico Fire Information page.

Your eyes are useful tools to determine if it’s safe to be outside. Even if you smell smoke, the air quality may still be good. Remember: if visibility is over five miles, the air quality is generally good. However, no matter how far you can see, if you are having health effects from smoke exposure then take extra care to stay inside or get to an area with better air quality. You should also see your doctor or healthcare professional as needed.

If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter elsewhere such as at a relative's or friend's home. During the day consider going to public libraries, senior centers and other public places that may have air conditioning. For multi-day events, consider relocating until the air quality improves. Get more stay cool tips on the Heat Stress - Environmental Public Health Tracking page .

For guidance on visibility distances, and for more information on air quality and protecting your health, please visit the Environmental Public Health Tracking - Fire and Smoke page.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact Paul Rhien at 505-470-2290 (Office) with your questions.

Versión en Español

En un esfuerzo para hacer que nuestros comunicados de prensa sean más accesibles, también tenemos disponibles una versión en español. Por favor presione el enlace de abajo para acceder a la traducción.

Avisos de humo en efecto por impactos en el norte de Nuevo México