Smoke Advisory for Folkston Area
Incident: Honey Prairie Complex Wildfire
Smoke Advisory for 6-13-2011
Incident: HoneyPrairie Complex Released: 6/13/2011
Residents and visitors of theFolkston area, Spanish Creek Road, Sardis Road, Davis Community, and Highway121 near the refuge's east entrance can expect increased smoke conditions due to the westerly winds over the next few days. The Suwannee Canal Recreation Area, including the Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center, Okefenokee Adventures, and all hiking trails at the refuge's east entrance are closed until the immediate threat of fire is over.
Frequently Asked Questions About Smoke:
What is the health threat from wildfire smoke
Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. Fortunately, most persons who are exposed to thick smoke will not have health problems. How much and how long you are exposed to the smoke, as well as your age and degree of susceptibility play a role in determining whether or not someone will experience smoke-related problems. If you are experiencing serious medical problems for any reason, seek medical treatment immediately.
How can I tell if the smoke is affecting my family or me
Smoke can cause coughing, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes and runny nose. If youhave heart or lung disease, smoke might make your symptoms worse. People who have heart disease mightexperience chest pain, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath and fatigue. Smoke may worsen symptoms for people who havepre-existing respiratory conditions, such as respiratory allergies, asthma andchronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) in the following ways:
Inability to breathe normally
Cough with or without mucus
Wheezing and shortness of breath
When smoke levels are high enough, even healthy people mayexperience some of these symptoms
How can I protect myself and my family from the harmful effects of smoke
Limit your exposure to thesmoke by:
Staying indoors whenever possible
Using air conditioners (air conditioned homes usually have lowerair exchange rates than
homesthat use open windows for ventilation)
Using mechanical air cleaners
Keeping windows closed while driving in a vehicle
Doing less strenuous physical activity (fast walking rather thanjogging)
Minimizing other sources of air pollution (smoking tobacco, usingwood burning stoves,
burningcandles or incense and vacuuming)
Will I suffocate in my house
No. The most common callfor evacuation during a wildfire is due to the direct threat of the fire, notsmoke. Leaving the area of thick smoke may be an option for those who aresensitive to smoke. However, it is often difficult to predict the duration,intensity and direction of smoke, making this an unattractive choice to manypeople. During severe smoke events,local clean air shelters may be designated to provide residents with a coolplace to get out of the smoke, or individuals may choose to visit theselocations on their own. These places may include large commercial buildings,educational facilities, shopping malls, movie theaters or any place witheffective air conditioning and particle filtration.
Should I wear a mask or N95 respirator
We do not recommend thewearing of any masks or respirators at this time.
Will a wet towel or bandana provide any help
We do not recommend usingwet towels or bandanas. Since wet towels or bandanas may not be sealed to theface and their capacity to filter very small particles is unknown, they willlikely provide little to no protection. They are also not certified aseffective respirators by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH).
What should I do if I must drive to work
Individuals can reduce theamount of smoke particles in their vehicles by keeping the windows closed. Thecar's ventilation systems typically remove a portion of the particle coming infrom outside. For best results, individuals may want to use the re-circulateair feature found in most cars, which will help keep the particulate levelslower.
Our community has an outdoor game scheduled for this evening. Should we cancel it
All persons in areasaffected by the wildfire smoke are being advised to limit outdoor activity andstay indoors whenever possible to minimize exposure to the smoke. Contact yourlocal emergency management officials for more guidance.
Do air-purifying machines help remove smoke particles inside buildings
Some air cleaners may be effective at reducing indoor particle levels, but most are not effective at removing gases and odors and also tend to be expensive. Some devices, known as ozone generators, personal ozone devices, "energized oxygen," "triatomicoxygen," "activated oxygen" and "pure air" generators are sold as air cleaners, but they are not recommended for use in occupied buildings. Ozone does not remove particles from the air and would not be effective during smoke events. Ozone itself is toxic and a regulated outside air pollutant. We advise the public to avoid exposure to ozone indoors by not using air cleaners that produce ozone. For additional information, review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency document: "Ozone Generators That Are Sold As Air Cleaners" at www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html. Also, humidifiers or de-humidifiers are not technically air cleaners and will not significantly reduce the amount of particles in the air during a smoke event.
What should I do about closing up my house when it is so hot in there
If you do not have an air conditioner and if it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed,
seek alternative shelter.
If I have respiratory problems and can't reach my doctor, where should I go
If you have a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go the hospital emergency room