Pima County DEQ issues high pollution advisory for Tucson

Pima County DEQ issues high pollution advisory for Tucson
Haze obscures the view of the Santa Catalina Mountains from Tucson's east side on Monday, Aug. 24. (Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality Clean Air Program issued a high pollution advisory in Tucson for Friday, Aug. 28 because of anticipated elevated levels of ground-level ozone air pollution.

There is also potential for elevated levels of particulates.

Two fires in the Tortolita Mountains are raising the potential for additional smoke in this area.

Pima County exceeded the federal health standard for ozone on Monday, Aug. 24, and the PDEQ has issued a high pollution advisory each day from Tuesday to Friday, Aug. 25-28.

Wildfire smoke from California and Colorado is caught in a high pressure system over the four corners region which is expected to lead to the formation of ozone and excessive haze across western states. High pressure may continue, potentially keeping haze and air pollution levels higher than normal throughout the week.

Children, older adults, and those with respiratory disease may experience shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, wheezing, and breathing discomfort. People who are active outdoors are also at risk, as faster and deeper breathing can allow ozone to penetrate into parts of the lungs that are more susceptible to injury.

People should limit outside activities, especially in the afternoon. People who feel symptoms should seek medical attention.

Wildfire smoke, vehicle exhaust, industrial and power plant emissions, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents and natural sources provide precursors that combine in intense sunlight to create ozone.

PDEQ recommends the following ways to help reduce emissions:

  • Reduce driving - combine errands into one trip, ride the bus, bike, walk or share rides
  • Avoid idling your vehicle’s engine. Refrain from long drive-thru lines - park and go inside instead
  • Re-fuel your car after 6 p.m. when fumes are less likely to form ozone
  • While re-fueling, always stop at the click to avoid spills and overfilling gas tank
  • Make sure your gas cap is tightly sealed after re-fueling
  • Check your tire pressure monthly to reduce gasoline use and associated air pollution
  • Use low VOC or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers
  • Avoid using gas-powered lawn and gardening equipment
  • Conserve electricity to reduce emissions from power plants

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