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Wildfire smoke causing breathing issues in Las Vegas

Posted at 9:35 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 09:09:14-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — What looked like a foggy day in the valley was actually smoke coming from wildfires in California.

The usually pristine view of the Las Vegas Strip gave way to a gloomy and hazy setting, accented by a glowing red sun.

“It is way harder to breathe as the air is clogged. That’s what it feels like,” Saleen Stone, who lives in Las Vegas, said.

RELATED STORY: Las Vegas area officials issue smoke, ozone advisory due to California wildfire smoke

The raging wildfires in California are to blame -- a startling sight for locals like Stone and Perriyona Adams out for a walk at Desert Breeze Park.

“I didn’t know what was going on, so I decided I’ll definitely wear a mask,” Adams said.

Dr. Craig Nakamura, a valley lung specialist, says the smoky air can affect people suffering from asthma or heart problems.

“When you breathe those particles in, that causes inflammation which can give trouble to people with heart problems as well,” he said.

He recommends people not exercise or be outside for too long and to wear an N-95 mask, especially for those with asthma. Nakamura says the surgical or cloth masks worn to prevent the spread of COVID-19 aren’t as effective for the smoke.

RELATED STORY: Evacuations ordered in San Diego as Valley Fire rages

“The mask you’re wearing lets in a lot of air from the sides. It’s not going to be effective, but it’s still better than nothing,” he said.

Nakamura says the smoke and haze will eventually go away, but there are steps to help that everyone can take.

“The key is to stay smart and stay indoors when you’re indoors. If you have a HEPA filter, put it in a room that you’re going to spend a lot of time with your family in,” he said.