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Arizona Fire Could Become Largest Ever

June 12, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin

arizona-new-mexico-fires-2011

The Arizona fire raging since May 29 through more than 670 square miles so far, is threatening more than homes and property. According to the Associated Press, “The eye-stinging, throat burning haze of smoke spewing from a gigantic wildfire in eastern Arizona is beginning to stretch as far east as central New Mexico, prompting health officials to warn residents as far away as Albuquerque about potential respiratory hazards.”

The mammoth forest fire is largely uncontained, while the current forecast threatens gusty winds which will only fan the flames further.

Thousands of people have fled their communities and two major power lines that bring electricity from Arizona to West Texas remain threatened. The fires crossed the New Mexico state line Friday night as 4,400 firefighters continue to battle the blaze.

The fire so far is the 2nd largest in Arizona history but could eclipse the 2002 ‘Rodeo-Chediski’ fire as the flames roar on.

Tiny, sooty microscopic particles about 1/28th the width of a human hair, can get lodged “very, very deep into your system and are very difficult to expel” said the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Just because you can’t see the fire doesn’t mean that you won’t feel an effect from the smoke.



One protection from smoke inhalation are  N95-rated respirator masks, an important addition to your preparedness supplies. Not only will this protect your lungs from smoke, but should a biological condition every arise, it will increase your odds of remaining healthy.

 



wallow-fire-burns-near-hannagan-meadow
Credit: Firefighter Chris Francis. US Forest Service.



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