The Red Cross reception and care center established in Payson for residents affected by smoke has now been closed due to poor air quality.
"We closed the reception and care center because, in spite of everybody's best guess, this is where the smoke ended up," said Lynda Papaioanu, Rim Country Branch Coordinator of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross.
"We've identified potential alternative sites in Winslow, Camp Verde and Fountain Hills," Papaioanu said. "For the people in Tonto Basin it would likely be Globe."
Papaioanu said these plans are on a contingency basis. "We haven't opened these care centers, but will do so if the need arises."
Breathing in smoke and ash from the Willow Fire can be serious, especially for those who already suffer from lung ailments.
"The people that we're most worried about are people who have preexisting respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma," Papaioanu said. "If they find themselves in distress, the first thing we would do is have a nurse contact them.
"Our recommendation for people impacted by the smoke is to stay inside, or to leave the area until it clears," Papaioanu said.
For more information about Red Cross care and reception centers, or to contact the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross, call Papaioanu at 928-472-7245.
See related story: Smoky air dangerous for people with lung problems.
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