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Venado Fire casts haze over Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Smoke from the lightning-caused Venado Fire on the Santa Fe National Forest  caused a haze to cover the Albuquerque metro area Sunday morning, fire officials said.

The fire broke out Friday and has charred 450 acres of the remote Mesa Venado and an adjacent drainage area, according to a U.S. Forest Service news release. The blaze forced the closure of Forest Road 376 from Gilman Tunnels to Porter Landing.

The smoke from the fire dropped the air quality index from good to moderate, according to the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department.

However, the presence of smoke alone does not mean that it is not safe to go outside, a spokesman with the New Mexico Department of Health said.

“Even if you smell smoke, the air quality may still be good,” Paul Rhien said.

He said that individuals sensitive to smoke may want to limit outdoor activity.

“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,” Rhien said.
For more information on how to protect your health from smoke, visit the New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking website.
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Paul Rhien. It has been corrected.