ADEQ: Worst air quality day in recent history in Phoenix

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Officials say people with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children are most likely to be affected by particle pollution. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Officials say people with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children are most likely to be affected by particle pollution. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The air is so bad that it could affect everyone and not just people with respiratory issues like asthma. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The air is so bad that it could affect everyone and not just people with respiratory issues like asthma. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality says the air quality is some of the worst they've seen in the last 12 years. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality says the air quality is some of the worst they've seen in the last 12 years. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

New Year’s Day in Phoenix marked one of the worst air quality days in recent history.

"This is one of the worst air quality days we've had in years," 3TV meteorologist April Warnecke said Monday morning.

We've all seen that big brown cloud of pollution, a nasty layer of haze, hovering over the Valley.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality says the air quality is some of the worst they've seen in the last 12 years. And the particulates that are most dangerous to people’s health, you can’t see or smell.

On Monday, Phoenix reached 283 PM-2.5 (smoke) level. On the index, that is considered “very unhealthy.” That’s not too far off from being considered in the “hazardous” range of the index, which starts at 301 PM-2.5.

Peoria resident Kevin Wesolowski has concerns about the poor air quality.

[RELATED: Phoenix area seeing some of worst air quality ever]

“This time of year it gets terrible enough to where you’re sitting inside a closed house and your eyes burn and your nose burns. So, being outdoors is 10 times worse,” said Wesolowski.

The Maricopa County Air Quality Department says that shooting off fireworks to ring in the new year, a lack of wind and rain and people violating the no wood burning law has added to that pollution.

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The air is so bad that it could affect everyone and not just people with respiratory issues like asthma.

“I don’t really want to prevent other people from enjoying what they think they want to enjoy. But at the same time people like us would like to breathe,” said Wesolowski.

Officials say people with heart or lung diseases, older adults and children are most likely to be affected by particle pollution.

[RELATED: Dirty air prompts no-burn restrictions for metro Phoenix]

With air quality "Very Unhealthy" in the Valley, EPA recommends active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease such as asthma should avoid all outdoor exertion. Everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion.

Wesolowski said the pollution advisories issued by Maricopa County are getting a lot of comments on the Nextdoor, a smartphone app associated with his neighborhood.

“Two air quality notifications from Maricopa County that were put out, each one elicited 140 – 150 responses. Some people are really arrogant and flagrant about what they’re going to violate and other people are pleased saying they wish their neighbors would do the same thing and stop burning,” said Wesolowski.

To enforce the No Burn rule, there is a task force driving around the city, looking for smoke coming out of chimneys. If you're caught breaking the law, you could face up to a $250 fine. And for restaurants, the fines could reach $500.

To learn more visit cleanairmakemore.com.

The High Pollution Advisory that has been in effect all weekend has been extended into Tuesday.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Donna RossiEmmy Award-winning reporter Donna Rossi joined CBS 5 News in September 1994.

Click to learn more about Donna.

Donna Rossi

In that time, Donna has covered some of the most high-profile stories in the Valley and across the state. Donna's experience as a four-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department gives her a keen sense of crime and court stories. She offered gavel to gavel coverage of the 1999 sleepwalking murder trial of Scott Falater, and the trial and conviction of retired Catholic Bishop Thomas O'Brien for a fatal hit and run accident. She also spent 2 straight weeks in northeastern Arizona in the summer of 2011 covering the Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Donna's reputation as a fair and accurate journalist has earned her the respect of her colleagues and community. Her talent as a reporter has earned her more than a dozen Arizona Associated Press Awards and five Emmy statue.

Donna previously worked as an anchor and reporter in Tucson and got her start in broadcast journalism in Flagstaff. Donna is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently serves on the NATAS board. She is a member of IFP/Phoenix, a non-profit organization of local film and documentary makers.

Donna was born in New York and moved to the Valley with her family when she was 9 years old. She is a graduate of Maryvale High School and attended Arizona State University. She graduated cum laude from Northern Arizona University.

In her free time, Donna enjoys boating on Bartlett Lake, all forms of music and theatre. Donna frequently donates her time to speak to community organizations and emcee their events. She is a past board member of DUET, a non-profit which helps promote health and well-being for older adults. Donna also loves donating her time to youth organizations and groups who work to secure and safeguard human rights.

On Oct. 17, 2015, Donna was honored for her amazing work over the years. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences inducted her into its Silver Circle. It's one of the organization's most prestigious honors for which only a few candidates are selected each year.

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