By early Friday morning, the Rough Fire (near Hume Lake), which has been burning since July 31, had grown to more than 39,000 acres with 3% containment. Because of this wildfire, sparked by a lightning strike, unhealthy smoke has settled into the Mountain Area.
Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), urges individuals to take steps to protect themselves against the combined danger posed by high heat and poor air quality.
“Children, the elderly and people with heart, circulation or breathing problems are especially vulnerable to both heat and smoke,” Horton said. “Individuals should regularly check on neighbors, particularly elders, and seek medical help if you see or experience signs of heat-related illness, including nausea, headache, vomiting, unusual fatigue or problems breathing.”
Air conditioning for those who have it can provide protection because it provides cool, filtered air. Residents who do not have air conditioning should visit friends or family member’s homes, a public place such as a library or shopping mall, or seek out a public cooling center.
Some precautions against smoke and heat-related illness are:
* Lower body temperature by using cold compresses, misting and taking cool showers, baths or sponge baths.
* Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. However, if your doctor has told you to limit the amount you drink or you are taking water pills, ask your doctor how much you should drink during the heat.
* Avoid drinks with alcohol or large amounts of sugar, as these can promote dehydration.
* Avoid physical exertion.
* Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing.
* Do not use bandanas (wet or dry), paper or surgical masks or tissues held over the mouth and nose. These will not protect your lungs from wildfire smoke.
More information about protecting yourself and others from the effects of excessive heat and wildfire smoke is available on the Be Prepared California website at bepreparedcalifornia.ca.gov, the California Department of Public Health website at cdph.ca.gov or the State Office of Emergency Services website at oes.ca.gov. #.