Smelling smoke? Air quality ‘not poor’ after Mesa mulch fire creates smoky haze

The smoke from the Mesa mulch fire is creating a haze around the Valley but not having a severe impact on air quality.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 5:40 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Don’t be alarmed if you’re seeing a haze across the Valley. The mulch fire in Mesa that started on Wednesday morning is still producing heavy smoke. But experts say the smoke isn’t dangerous. “It may look bad but air quality is actually not poor outside,” said Matt Pace, a meteorologist from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

The massive mulch fire at CTS Green Waste Recycling Center is contained but still burning. A smoky haze is still viewable in various parts of the Valley. “Those are longer-duration fires. That’s why it’s still burning. That’s why there’s so much smoke in the air due to what it’s burning in,” said Tiffany Davila with the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

It sounds ominous, but Pace says so far, the air quality is not a cause for concern. “All of our monitors and sensors around the region are actually showing values below the federal health standard,” Pace said.

Pace says the visible smoke will improve quickly thanks to a process called atmospheric inversion. “That smoke layer that you’ve been showing is already starting to expand a little bit and as we heat up that inversion rises higher and higher and you’re able to mix that smoke over a larger portion of the atmosphere and that’s why it does get better,” he said.

ADEQ joined First Alert Meteorologist April Warnecke to discuss the poor quality impacting the Valley of the Sun.

But what if you smell the smoke? “Certainly, take yourself indoors. Limit your A/C, close your windows, limit your outdoor activity,” Pace said.

Davilla says that it’s normal to have the fire still burning. “These fires typically last a few days. Same with debris fires like when tires catch on fire or scrap yards catch on fire. They produce a lot of smoke. There’s a lot of heat retention,” Davila said.

Rural Metro Fire said on Wednesday the spontaneous combustion of organic material caused the fire. We reached out to CTS Green Waste Recycling for a comment and have not yet heard back.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please click here to report it and include the headline of the story in your email.

Do you have a photo or video of a breaking news story? Send it to us here with a brief description