Salt cedars

Salt cedars that grow along the Colorado River are said to help wildfires grow quickly, as they have in Topock.

As the Topock Fire continues to blaze north of town, local health officials are encouraging people to stay indoors and monitor any breathing problems.

Mohave County nursing services manager Lynne Valentine said children, smokers, the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions are most at risk for respiratory problems attributed to smoke inhalation than others.

Lake Havasu Unified School district canceled or rescheduled all outdoor activities, including recess, on Wednesday when high winds carried heavy amounts of smoke and particulates into Havasu.

According to Athletic Director Roger Burger, Thursday’s outdoor events resumed as normal when school officials decided conditions had improved. No determinations have been made for the rest of the week.

Burger said he has been in consistent talks with the district’s medical personnel and trainers to evaluate safety concerns the smoke creates. He said they begin evaluating conditions each morning and continue throughout the day to determine if they can hold outdoor activities.

“Each day this fire is going on, we’re definitely going to have conversations about the air quality,” Burger said.

Valentine said symptoms of smoke inhalation will vary from person to person, but it’s typical to experience itchy eyes, coughing, runny nose and upper airway irritation. Long term exposure can lead to headaches, dizziness and nausea.

Mohave County health officials are encouraging people and pets to stay indoors and limit smoke exposure as much as possible. Above all, limiting extended physical activity will help ward off most adverse effects from the smoke.

“Reduction of physical activity reduces the dose of inhaled air pollutants and may reduce the risk of health impacts during a smoke event,” a Mohave County press release stated.

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