Extreme Weather and Public Health
Arizona is one of the hottest and driest places in the United States and also home to several diverse National Forests. These conditions make Arizona prone to wildfires. Persistent drought conditions and high temperatures have contributed to an increase in the amount of wildfires occurring and acres burned. Natural disasters like wildfires have the ability to destroy homes, contribute to landslides, threaten public health, and cause economic damage.
Smoke from wildfires is made of a mixture of gases and fine particles burning from trees and other plant materials. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. You can take steps to be ready for a wildfire and prepare your home and landscaping to reduce your risk. Learn how to protect yourself and your family from during a wildfire, evacuate safely during a wildfire, and how to stay healthy when you return home.
Learn more about wildfire safety and find valuable information to protect your health using the links below:
ADHS Wildfire Plan
The ADHS Wildfire Plan details how ADHS will handle wildfire emergencies. Smoke generated by wildland fires can pose a major health risk. It is primarily made up of small particles, gases, and water vapor, with trace amounts of hazardous air pollutants. Most harmful are the particles (or particulate matter) smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (70 micrometers is the diameter of a human hair). If these particles are inhaled deeply into the lungs, they can damage lung tissue and cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
Symptoms from short-term smoke exposure range from scratchy throat, cough, irritated sinuses, headaches, runny nose, and stinging eyes to more serious reactions among persons with asthma, emphysema, congestive heart disease, and other existing medical conditions. Older adults and children are also high-risk groups. Find out what you can do to protect your health when smoke levels are dangerously high.