PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Smoke from wildfires both here and in other states is contributing to poor air quality that might make it difficult to breathe for anyone spending time outside over the next several days, if not longer.
A satellite composite from last night showed smoke being pulled in from wildfires in California and Colorado, and rotating around a ridge of high pressure that is situated across the four corners of the region. That smoke is settling into places like Montana, Idaho, and even the central part of the county. It's also making its way into Arizona.
Arizona has also localized wildfire smoke that's coming in from the Gin and Salt fires. Members of the Arizona's Weather Authority Facebook Group have been posting pictures showing sunrises and sunsets with a deep red hue indicative of all the smoke that's present.
Smoke particles, also known as PM 2.5, are super tiny -- about 30 to 40 times smaller than a human hair. Those are the particles that can get deep into your lungs.
Another thing smoke can do is increase ozone here in the Valley. We saw that last week, when there were unhealthy levels of ozone in the Valley. The smoke in the Valley interacts more with the heat and can create more ozone. That's one of the reasons we're seeing these high pollution advisories in the Valley for the next several days. Not only do we have buildup here locally, but when you add wildfire smoke, the problem becomes worse.
While we can feel the effects of this pollution, anyone with respiratory issues like COPD and asthma or any heart issues should stay indoors as much as possible.
Can face masks protect you? Experts say probably not unless you have an N-95 or an N-100 mask. The particles are just so small that surgical masks and cloth masks won't do the job.