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Canyon fire causing major problems for Vegas air quality

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Updated: 7/05/2013 10:25 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- For people down the mountain, you can see the smoke; you can smell it, and you can also feel it. Some parts of town have seen coatings of ash, a testament to the effect the fires have had on our air quality.

"So we just see flakes of ash just floating in. I open my garage and it floats right in. It's bad out here," said Oneal Atkinson, who lives in Sun City Summerlin Retirement Community. Atkinson’s been receiving a fair share of smoke and ash from Mount Charleston. Some of the ash blew onto his car after he opened his garage door.

"All the prevailing winds come this way towards our house, toward Sun City," Atkinson said.

But it's not just his neighborhood, the effect is valley-wide. The smoke that started blowing overnight has settled, and for hours on Friday you could barely see the mountains. The smoke has covered the Strip like a blanket.

The air quality is having an impact on people breathing. At Centennial Hills Emergency Room, there have already been patients with breathing problems.

"I think the smoke is one thing. I definitely think that it's been over 110 for the last few days is a joining factor. Those two together can be a big problem.

Dr. Marc Jeser says: then you add the problem of ashes.

"It's just like being in a fire. I mean, ash from a fire tends to incinerate part of the airways. However ash even though it's cold, almost blackens the lungs," Dr. Jeser said.

Jeser said that while the haze hangs around, younger children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory problems should avoid being outside.

Staying indoors is hard for Laverne Ferraro in Sun City, who misses her tennis game.

"I play tennis four times a week, sometimes five. But this week I've opted not to play. It's just not worth it to take a chance," Ferraro said.

And Oneal Atkinson says he will continue staying inside as much as possible for now.

"Nothing you could do about it. It's mother nature and whatever caused that fire, lightning, whatever, nothing we live with it. It's part of living in Vegas, I'm afraid," Atkinson said.

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