ARIZONA NEWS

ADEQ warns bad air quality coming to Valley early this holiday season

Nov 30, 2018, 5:35 PM | Updated: 5:48 pm

(Twitter Photo/@MattPaceWeather)...

(Twitter Photo/@MattPaceWeather)

(Twitter Photo/@MattPaceWeather)

PHOENIX — Did you kick on your fireplace or light fireworks this Thanksgiving?

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality said smoke in Valley air exceeded health standards on the holiday, the earliest occurrence since the department started keeping record in 2010.

High pressure in the air caused stagnant conditions on Thanksgiving, ADEQ meteorologist Matt Pace told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday.

An increase in fireplace activity combined with the inability for smoke to escape led to the bad air quality, he said.

Highly polluted air can cause asthma flare-ups and make it harder to breathe.

People who are sensitive to air pollutants are encouraged to stay indoors when air quality is low, Pace said.

He said the worst times for air quality are in early morning hours as the sun begins to rise, as well as evening hours when the temperature cools down.

“That cold air drops down off the mountain and all that pollution gets trapped right down near the surface,” Pace said.

The Valley typically only exceeds smoke standards three to four times per year — usually between Christmas and New Year’s Day — due to wood burning, fireworks and conditions that trap smoke in the air, he said.

But there are steps Valley residents can take to breathe easy throughout the holidays.

Pace recommended checking the air quality forecast each day, which gives a five-day outlook.

“If you want to help for the smoke that’s in the air, you can obviously use gas or electric burning instead of using that wood,” he said.

Other ways to increase air quality are telecommuting, carpooling, using public transit, eliminating unnecessary driving and limiting fireworks.

“So anything that you can do — it may not seem like a lot, but certainly it’ll help in the long run everyone in the Valley,” Pace said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

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ADEQ warns bad air quality coming to Valley early this holiday season