Wildfires and air quality: What this smoke means for your health

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The ongoing wildfires have spread a haze across much of the state. At times, the smoke has been so thick that visibility has dropped to near zero. But all of that smoke in the atmosphere is doing more than just blotting out our blue skies and dropping visibility — it’s bad for our health.

Smoke is made up of a mixture of gasses and fine particles released when materials burn. Those particles can range from pieces of ash big enough to see to microscopic in size, which are the most harmful.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve all felt the effects of these tiny particles — runny nose, burning eyes, dry throat, coughing and difficulty breathing. Even when air quality isn’t harmful enough to affect the entire population,people with chronic heart or lung disease may still feel the impact.

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