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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 8, 2010

Health Department warns of bad air quality on Big Island

Advertiser Staff

As Hawaii County firefighters continue to battle a brushfire on Kealakekua Ranch land, the state Department of Health is urging residents to take precautions because of elevated smoke particulate levels in the air.

The Department of Health said yesterday that particulate levels over a 24-hour period in Kona exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality Standard.
The agency is monitoring air quality in Kona, Hilo, Mountain view and Pahala as a combination of brushfire smoke and vog has fouled the air.
Big Island firefighters have dealt with at least three brushfires in the last several weeks.
Big Island Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira told West Hawaii Today that the Kealakekua Ranch fire was contained Wednesday but continues to burn at an elevation of about 4,000 feet, on property owned by Bishop Estate and Kamehameha Schools.
Oliveira said the fire does not pose a threat to property but warned West Hawaii residents that smoky conditions are likely to continue.
The Department of Health offers the following guidelines to people living in areas impacted by smoke or vog:

  • Stay indoors and close windows and doors.
  • Check that your air conditioner or air purifier is working and change its filter if necessary.
  • If you take medication, make sure you have an adequate supply.
  • Contact your doctor if you need more medication and get clear instructions on what to do if your lung condition suddenly worsens.
  • Do not smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Avoid people who have colds or other lung infections, and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Get plenty of rest and limit physicial exertion.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to loosen mucus, especially warm beverages.
  • Contact your doctor as soon as any respiratory problem develops.
  • If possible, leave the area.
    For information about air quality, call the Clean Air Branch at 586-4200. Or go to the American Lung Association of Hawaii’s Web site at: