North East Valley residents can breathe easy in spite of the wildfire that continues to send thick smoke overhead, air quality officials said Thursday.
No smoke advisories related to the Cave Creek Complex fire have been issued so far as winds blew the smoke away from the Valley and into the remote desert to the north.
But a shift in wind direction could change everything, said Arizona Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Cortland Coleman.
Workers are monitoring the air quality around the clock from three different stations in the area and will alert the public of a smoke advisory if necessary, Coleman said.
"If the current conditions persist, we should see a decrease in the amount of smoke expected in residential areas," he said. Still, people with respiratory problems should be careful. "They may want to curtail outdoor activity until the smoke dissipates or leaves the immediate area, but we are not seeing levels that warrant an advisory or health risk at this point," he said.
Students at Quality Interactive Montessori School in Cave Creek were kept indoors all day to play it safe.
"This morning it was much to thick. It just didn’t look good. I didn’t think it was good to let them outside," said Pam Schiele, the school’s director. "We popped popcorn and watched movies instead."