PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - For ADEQ Arizona Department of Environmental Quality meteorologist Dr. Matt Pace, wildfires are his focus, and right now he is tracking two of them.

"The Cold Water Fire burning just to the south of Quinns Well," said Pace.

[WATCH: Meteorologists monitoring smoke from Woodbury Fire]

But the major one is the Woodbury Fire. With the current weather pattern of high-pressure overhead, the smoke is currently being pushed northeast and into the White Mountains.

"We do have air quality monitors in Vernon and Show Low and been tracking generally upper good to moderate range," said Dr. Pace.

That means the air quality is not poor enough to require a high pollution advisory.

"For PM .25 is 35.5 micrometers or higher," said Dr. Pace.

If it exceeds those levels, that's when it could impact people's health. You can see the plume of smoke from the Woodbury Fire billowing from behind the Superstition Mountains and Wednesday was the first day some of that smoke made its way into parts of the Valley.

"This morning you may have noticed the smoke actually did move over the top of the Valley that was at about 10,000 feet or so up in the air," said Dr. Pace.

The monsoon could give us the change in winds to push even more smoke our way.

"Main time we deal with smoke in the Valley what we call our drainage winds. That's that cold air that drops from off the mountains and results in easterly winds that would push the smoke from the fire into the north and East Valley," said Dr. Pace.

ADEQ placed two monitors out near the Woodbury Fire, one in Queen Valley, the other near the Salt River to catch any movement in the smoke. If you are going to be in the area where the smoke is, ADEQ has a simple rule called 5-3-1 to follow.

"If you can see 5 miles or past 5 miles then generally the air quality is good. If it drops to 3 miles, then if you are sensitive to smoke, we recommend you stay inside. If it is down to one mile or less everyone should stay indoors if you can," said Dr. Pace.

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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