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Home News Evening Smoke Impacts Expected
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
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Evening Smoke Impacts Expected

This page on the New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking website is an overview of fire, smoke and your health. It provides information such as conditions and alerts, a data query, and several other tools and resources used to assess air quality.

The Diego Fire, located seven miles southwest of Coyote, New Mexico has grown to 1,000 acres. Smoke from the fire is expected to impact Los Alamos, Santa Fe, and Rio Arriba counties starting late Monday afternoon through at least 9 p.m. Additionally, communities downwind from the fire may also experience impacts. If predicted winds arrive in the middle of the night, this may clear out the smoke by tomorrow morning.

The New Mexico Department of Health advises residents in these Counties to pay attention to visibility this afternoon and early evening.

“Visibility is an easy way to decide if smoke from wildfires could impact your health,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Use the 5-3-1 Visibility Method. First, decide if the visibility is closer to five miles, three miles or one mile. Try the Visibility Mapping Tool to determine distances from where you are right now.”

5-3-1 Visibility Method

Flowchart explaining how to determine your risk of smoke inhilation.

Our Environmental Public Health Tracking - Fire and Smoke page explains how the 5-3-1 Visibility Method allows you to determine your smoke exposure depending on what you see:


Can you see just under 5 miles? If so, the air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness; they should minimize outdoor activity. These people should reschedule outdoor recreational activities for a day with better air quality. It is okay for adults in good health to be out and about but they should periodically check visibility especially when fires are nearby.


If you can see less than 3 miles, young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should stay indoors. All outdoor activities should be avoided, including running errands. Everyone else should try to stay indoors as much as possible. All outdoor recreational activities should be rescheduled for a day with better air quality.


If you can see less than 1 mile, everyone should avoid outdoor activity, including running errands. Unless an evacuation has been issued, you should stay inside your home or in a safe shelter.

Heat Stress

During extreme heat and heat waves New Mexicans can be at risk for heat stress. Heat stress is heat-related illness which can have many symptoms. This includes adverse health conditions such as heat exhaustion which can lead to heat stroke.

Regardless of the visibility, if you are feeling as though you are having health problems from smoke, take precautions to avoid breathing in smoke and see your doctor or other health professional as needed.

When the visibility merits staying indoors, keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. If it is extremely hot, you can run an air conditioner but not a swamp cooler. Get more stay cool tips at our Heat Stress - Environmental Public Health Tracking page.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.