Wildfires May Affect Albuquerque’s Air Quality

With wildfires raging on three sides, Albuquerque is bound to feel the effects of the smoke. Wildfires are currently burning north, west and south of Albuquerque and high winds and extreme drought conditions add to the efforts to control the wildfires.

The Albuquerque Box Effect

East of Albuquerque, NM stands the Sandia mountain range. These mountains tower over the city and can hinder the smoke from moving on. The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is known for its box where hot air balloons can leave the field and use air currents to circle and re-land almost where they took off. That same box can hinder the ability of the smoke to leave the valley.

The Arizona Wildfire Impacts Albuquerque’s Air Quality:

The wildfire raging in Arizona since May has impacted the air quality of Albuquerque in recent months. Under the right weather conditions, visibility drops to under a thousand feet. Those with health issues should remain indoors and turn off swamp coolers. Swamp coolers draw air from the outdoors and thus smoke will also enter your home.

The Las Conchas Fire North of Albuquerque:

Smoke from the Las Conchas fire can be seen north of Albuquerque. Fortunately, local wind patterns have been pushing that smoke further north and east having less impact on the city of Albuquerque. Los Alamos, Taos, and Santa Fe may have issues with their air quality from the Las Conchas fire.

South of Albuquerque:

Along the Bosque south of Albuquerque, a wildfire has consumed approximately 125 acres and has destroyed a number of buildings. This fire may affect Albuquerque’s air quality during the day depending upon the weather conditions.

Albuquerque Outdoor Air Quality Monitoring:

All residents of New Mexico should be monitoring the outdoor air quality. Keep in mind that the worse the visibility, the worse the smoke. You can also check the New Mexico Fire Info website for information about Smoke Management. The New Mexico Environmental Department website has excellent information on Wildfire Smoke Resources. This site includes a number of links to New Mexico Air Quality monitoring systems where you can get up to date information about fires, and smoke management.

Wildfire Smoke Symptoms to Be Aware of in Albuquerque:

Your health may be affected by the wildfire smoke. If your eyes burn, your throat is scratchy, runny nose or if you are coughing frequently, you may be having a reaction to the smoke. Keep an eye on your pets, too. If the smoke is thick outdoors, bring your animals in as the smoke could affect them too. You may want to skip outdoor events to reduce your exposure to the wildfire smoke. Instead, opt for a movie or other form of indoor entertainment.

As with any emergency, keep calm. Follow news and weather reports as often as you can so that you are not surprised by high wildfire smoke levels during different hours of the day. Protect yourself by educating yourself.