DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- Southwest winds from a wildfire in New Mexico are blowing smoke into southern Colorado, with many residents calling dispatchers believing there are fires in the area.
"Douglas County Regional Dispatch Center is experiencing a high volume of calls related to smoke from fires out of state," Sgt. Ron Hanavan of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said. "Heavy smell of smoke and some haze is reported throughout Douglas County. At this time we ask that you only report any actual fires, plumes of smoke or flames. "
A fire near on the Navajo Nation near Gallup, N.M., is where the fire is burning.
Warm temperatures and gusty winds have forced the National Weather Service to implement a red flag warning for Colorado Springs, from Vail to the Western Slope, and into the Four Corners area.
Satellite photos show the smoke coming from the fire and there is blowing dust mixed in, creating smoky and hazy conditions.
Smoke carries some health risks, doctor says
Dr. Anthony Gerber of National Jewish Health researches the effects of poor air quality. He said even if the smoke is from miles away, and barely noticeable it can have an effect.
"The sky will get cloudy and those are tiny particles of pollutants and those can cause people with lung disease like asthma to have exacerbations, meaning their symptoms get worse," Gerber said.
Combine that smoke with smog in the air as well as allergens from trees and plants and it creates an even greater risk for anyone having trouble breathing.
The inflammation that occurs during an asthma attack or when other condition worsen can travel from the lungs and into the bloodstream causing an increased risk of other health problems.
Doctors say anyone with allergies or asthma should stay inside as much as possible. Keep windows closed and use a filter in your air conditioning system.
Take your outdoor workout session indoors until the air clears up. Children should spend limited time outdoors.
Kids who develop problems breathing or experience consistent coughing should see a doctor right away.
For more information about how to keep your family breathing easy during allergy and fire season visit NationalJewish.org.