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August 22, 2020
Air Quality Alert Message - 8/22

Air Quality Alert Message

Relayed by National Weather Service Albuquerque NM

618 PM MDT Sat Aug 22 2020

The following message is transmitted at the request of the New Mexico Departments of Health and Environment.

Smoke from the Medio Fire located 2 miles east-southeast of Nambe Reservoir and 5 miles north-northwest of the Santa Fe Ski Basin combined with smoke from Colorado and Arizona will have impacts across much of northern and central NM later tonight through Sunday morning. Communities that may see the greatest impacts include Taos, Espanola, Santa Fe, Raton, Las Vegas and surrounding communities. However, impacts may stretch as far west as Gallup and Farmington, as well as across the Albuquerque Metro area.

Anyone living in these areas should be prepared, especially between 6 pm Saturday and 1 pm Sunday. Since these impacts are expected to occur overnight, taking precautions such as closing windows before bedtime and turning off evaporative (swamp) coolers can protect residents with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), interstitial lung disease (ILD) or lung cancer, heart disease, adults over age 65, young children, and pregnant women if smoke concentrations become unhealthy.

Remember, your eyes are your best tools to determine if it is safe to be outside. Use the 5-3-1 Method available at

If visibility is:

  • Under 5 miles, the air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness. Outdoor activity should be minimized.
  • Around 3 miles, young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should avoid all outdoor activities.
  • Around 1 mile, the air quality is unhealthy for everyone. People should remain indoors and avoid all outdoor activities including running errands. Unless an evacuation has been issued, stay inside your home, indoor workplace, or in a safe shelter.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affecting New Mexico and with the wildfire season underway, New Mexicans will need to take extra precautions. Smoke from wildfires may cause people to have more severe reactions if they are infected COVID-19. The best way to protect against the potentially harmful effects of wildfire smoke and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home and create a clean indoor air space. NMDOH offers tips here: and

New Mexicans will also need to take steps to keep their homes cool to avoid heat-related illnesses. NMDOH offers tips here:





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