Categorized | Featured, Health

Department of Health urges precautions due to Kona brushfire smoke

click on image above image for current EPA Air Quality Index


The Hawai’i State Department of Health (DOH) urges Hawai’i County residents to take precautionary measures due to elevated levels of fine particulates (PM2.5) caused by brush fires.

Although the brush fires are located in remote areas, the smoke can travel and affect communities in varying degrees. The DOH is continuing to monitor the PM2.5 levels in four Hawaii County communities: Kona, Hilo, Mountain View, and Pahala. The PM2.5 level recently recorded over a 24-hour period at the DOH air monitoring station located in Kona exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

Particulate levels continue to be elevated in Kona and are expected to improve as tradewinds return. A list of exceedances of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards can be viewed at the Clean Air Branch website:

Elevated levels of PM2.5 can cause breathing problems in individuals, especially those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. If you have respiratory conditions and live or work in an area being impacted by smoke or vog, consider taking precautionary measures.

The DOH offers the following guidelines:

  • Stay indoors and close your windows and doors.
  • Check that your air conditioner or air purifier is working properly, change filters if necessary.
  • If you take medication, make sure you have an adequate supply and use them as directed by your physician. Contact your physician if you need more medication and get clear instructions of what to do if your lung condition suddenly worsens.
  • Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Avoid people who have colds and other lung infections and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Get plenty of rest and limit physical exertion.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to loosen mucus. Warm beverages seem to work best.
  • Contact your physician as soon as any respiratory problem develops.
  • If possible leave the affected area.

While these suggestions are intended primarily for persons with respiratory or chronic lung disease, they are also useful for healthy persons during air pollution episodes such as particulates dust, brush fires, firework smoke, or volcanic haze.

For further information regarding air quality contact the Clean Air Branch at 586-4200.

If you wish to obtain additional information on respiratory health contact the American Lung Association of Hawai’i at 537-5966 or visit their website at

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