Wildfire smoke can irritate your lungs, cause inflammation, affect your immune system, and make you more prone to lung infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that cause COVID-19. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, preparing for wildfires might be a little different this year. Know how wildfire smoke can affect you and your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic and what you can do to protect yourselves.

Air Quality Health Advisory for Ozone

Issued for northern Teller and northwestern El Paso counties

Issued at 9:00 AM MDT, Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

 

Affected Area: northern Teller and northwestern El Paso counties.  Cities and points of interest include, but are not limited to Woodland Park, Florissant, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, and Monument. 

Advisory in Effect: 9:00 AM MDT, Tuesday, August 25, 2020 to 10:00 PM MDT, Tuesday, August 25, 2020.

Public Health Recommendations: Active children and adults, older adults, and people with lung disease, such as asthma, should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion within the affected area during the advisory time above.

Emission Reduction Requests:  (effective immediately, these steps can help reduce ozone) – bike or walk when possible, combine errands, refuel cars and trucks after dusk, mow your lawn after 5pm.

Outlook:  Wildfire smoke is expected to enhance ozone across the advisory area on Tuesday.  Ozone concentrations are expected to reach the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category Tuesday afternoon and evening, before returning to more moderate levels by late Tuesday evening.

For the latest Colorado statewide air quality conditions, forecasts, and advisories, visit
http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colorado_summary.aspx

 

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Some symptoms, like dry cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing can be caused by both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19.

 

Learn about symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms like fever or chills, muscle or body aches, and diarrhea are not related to smoke exposure. If you have any of these symptoms, the CDC COVID-19 Self-Checker can help you determine whether you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. If you have questions after using the CDC COVID-19 Self-Checker, contact a healthcare provider.

 

If you have severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing or chest pain, immediately call 911 or the nearest emergency facility.

Visit for more information on Wildfire Smoke and COVID-19

Masks will not protect you from wildfire smoke.

 

Masks that are used to slow the spread of COVID-19 offer little protection against wildfire smoke. They do not catch small, harmful particles in smoke that can harm your health.

 

Although N95 respirators do provide protection from wildfire smoke, they might be in short supply as frontline healthcare workers use them during the pandemic

Why do people need to consider COVID-19 along with wildfire smoke?

 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is overlapping with the occurrence of wildfires in the United States.

  • Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of air pollutants that are harmful to human health.

  • Exposure to air pollutants in wildfire smoke can irritate the lungs, cause inflammation, alter immune function, and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, likely including COVID-19

  • Recent scientific publications (Conticini et al., 2020external icon & Travaglio et al., 2020external icon) suggest that air pollutant exposure worsens COVID-19 symptoms and outcomes.

Visit to learn more about actions to minimize potential health impacts from wildfire smoke

© 2023 Teller County COVID-19 Combined Agency Unified Command Center. Information Provided by the Joint Information Center (JIC)