Arizona wildfire smoke warning

17 June 2011 10:06

People who live within five miles of the wildfire in Arizona have been advised to stay away

People who live within five miles of the wildfire in Arizona have been advised to stay away

Officials in the US state of Arizona have warned of diseases such as asthma and other respiratory conditions associated with poor air quality may increase following a massive wildfire.

Thousands of residents who had been evacuated from two eastern Arizona communities were allowed back home after firefighters said they were making progress in their battle against the blaze.

Over the weekend, 7,000 people from the towns of Springerville and Eagar were let back into their communities despite thick smoke from the fire threatening visibility.

Evacuation orders are still in place for a further 2,700 residents in rural areas close to the fire.

Such unforeseen circumstances highlight the need for travellers to ensure they have adequate medical travel insurance while abroad.

British asthma patients holidaying in Arizona can protect themselves from pollutants present in wildfire smoke by staying indoors and keeping all doors and windows closed.

John Helmich, a spokesman for the federal inter-agency fire-fighting team said people with respiratory diseases who reside within five miles of the fire have been urged to leave the area for the time being as tiny ash particles in the air can spark health problems.

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