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Home News New Mexico Department of Health Encourages New Mexicans To Use the 5-3-1 Visibility Method During Wildland Fires to Protect Their Health from Smoke
David Morgan
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New Mexico Department of Health Encourages New Mexicans To Use the 5-3-1 Visibility Method During Wildland Fires to Protect Their Health from Smoke

April 27, 2021 - Air Quality - Information

 

New Mexico Department of Health Encourages New Mexicans To Use the 5-3-1 Visibility Method During Wildland Fires to Protect Their Health from Smoke

 (Santa Fe, NM) — With the wildfire season underway, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reminds New Mexicans that air quality can change rapidly during wildfire season and you might need to make quick decisions about whether or not to go outside. New Mexicans are encouraged to use the 5-3-1 Visibility Method to estimate air quality when it is smoky and to take recommended actions based on your health circumstances and age.

“The best way to protect yourself during smoky days is to avoid breathing in smoke,” said Tracie Collins, New Mexico Health Secretary. “While not everyone will have the same sensitivity to wildfire smoke, it is still best to avoid breathing smoke as much as you can. You can use the 5-3-1 method to decide if you should go indoors.”

Even if you don’t smell smoke, the air quality may still be unhealthy so look for landmarks in the distance such as mountains, mesas, or structural landmarks such as buildings and windmills. If you can clearly see landmarks that are over 5 miles away, the air quality is generally good but if visibility is under 5 miles, follow this guide:

•             Under 5 miles, 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* and they should reduce outdoor activity.

•             Under 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 inside.

•             Under 1 mile, the air quality is unhealthy for everyone and everyone should stay inside. 

Visit https://nmtracking.org/fire to find guidance how to use the visibility method and to get practical smoke and health information.

*With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affecting New Mexico and with the wildfire season underway, New Mexicans should take extra precautions. Smoke from wildfires may cause people to have more severe reactions if they are infected with COVID-19. To protect yourself against the potentially harmful effects of wildfire smoke and to reduce the spread of COVID-19, stay home and create a clean indoor air space. NMDOH offers tips here: https://nmtracking.org/environment/air/FireAndSmoke.html and https://cv.nmhealth.org/.


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Versión en Español

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El Departamento de Salud de Nuevo México les exhorta a sus Ciudadanos a que Utilicen el Método de Visibilidad 5-3-1 Durante los Fuegos Forestales para Proteger su Salud por el Humo