Health officials in Florida are urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves from smoke being produced by the West Mims wildfire.
The West Mims fire is 12 percent contained. It has burned more than 144,000 acres, officials said at a Thursday morning news conference.
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Smoke was so bad in Duval on Thursday that school officials canceled all outdoor and after-school activities.
SOUTH GEORGIA WILDFIRE COVERAGE
The Florida Department of Health in Duval County wants people to take precautions when in areas affected heavily by smoke.
Officials said the smoke can cause scratchy throats or irritated eyes and noses. Smoke can also worsen asthma and other chronic lung or heart conditions.
Health officials said people can protect their families in several ways:
- Avoid prolonged outdoor activities in areas heavily affected by smoke. This is especially important for children and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
- Stay indoors and run your air conditioner. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. For best results, run the air conditioning with recirculated air.
- Help keep particle levels lower inside. When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves and candles. Do not vacuum, which stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke.
- Follow your doctor’s advice about taking medicines and following your asthma management plan if you have asthma or other lung diseases. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen. Pay attention to local air quality reports (www.airnow.gov), news coverage or health warnings related to smoke.