Help your health during the upcoming prescribed burns


The U.S. Forest Service, Pagosa Ranger District is planning to conduct prescribed burns throughout the month of April in Turkey Springs area. 

Prescribed burns help to mitigate the devastation that can occur with natural wildfires that are harder to control. All wood smoke, whether from wildfires, prescribed burns or from residential wood stoves, can impact your health. 

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), breathing in wood smoke can “irritate the eyes, nose and throat; cause wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing; and worsen asthma, other lunge disease, and heart disease.” 

Keep asthma relief medication on-hand and contact your doctor if symptoms worsen or you experience chest pain or difficulty breathing. 

High particle pollution has been shown to increase the incidence of hospitalization and death due to cardiovascular events, including heart attack, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias and ischemic stroke, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Take measures to protect yourself and your family. 

Avoid going outdoors in areas close to prescribed burns and wear an N95 mask if you must do activity outdoors. Other types of masks do not filter fine particles and will not provide protection from breathing in smoke. Consult with your doctor before wearing a respirator if you have asthma or another lung or heart condition. 

Keep air inside the home as clean as possible by keeping doors and windows closed, running the HVAC system and changing the filters frequently during periods of heavy smoke. You can create a filter fan by attaching a furnace filter to a box fan if you do not have an air conditioner or HVAC system. Visit to watch a video with step-by-step instructions or find the DIY video on the Archuleta County Public Health Department’s Facebook page. 

N95 masks are available at Archuleta County Public Health Department for those with health concerns due to the possible smoke exposure. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Learn more about protecting your health from wood smoke by visiting