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Health alert issued for ozone, smoke


Haze form wildfire smoke over Downtown Albuquerque obscures the Sandias on Tuesday. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Program issued a health alert Wednesday morning due to elevated ozone levels and smoke. The alert is in effect until 2 p.m. Thursday.

“Those with respiratory conditions in the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County should limit outdoor activity,” the alert states.

Drifting smoke from southern Arizona is fueling the haze over much of New Mexico. Arizona’s Telegraph and Mescal fires had burned more than 138,000 acres as of Tuesday morning. Smoky skies are likely to persist in New Mexico throughout the week.

The Associated Press reported that the Telegraph Fire burning south of Superior in Pinal County and near Miami in Gila County grew to 119 square miles but was 18% contained as of Tuesday night, according to Inciweb, the interagency wildfire site. Residents of Globe, Miami and smaller communities have been in various stages of the evacuation process.

The city of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department said in a news release that people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teens should avoid strenuous outdoor activities, keep outdoor activities short and consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them.

Everyone else, the release states, should reduce their exposure by: choosing less strenuous activities, like walking instead of running; shortening the amount of time active outdoors; and being active outdoors when air quality is better.

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