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Winds mean air quality advisory, red flag warning

High winds throughout Southern Arizona have led Pima County to issue an air quality advisory and the National Weather Service to put out a red flag warning Wednesday.

The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality warned that dry conditions and gusting winds are causing elevated levels of airborne particulate matter.

"Tiny specks of soot, dust, vehicle emissions, and aerosols" are blowing about, PDEQ spokeswoman Beth Gorman said in a press release on the air quality advisory, which will be in effect for 24 hours.

"Individuals with heart disease and respiratory sensitivities may wish to reduce their exposure to outside air Wednesday afternoon and night. And, if you need to go outside, it is suggested you reduce your level of exertion to decrease the amount of particulates you breathe into your lungs," she said.

Up-to-the-hour air pollution levels are available online at the PDEQ website www.AirInfoNow.org.

The winds have also prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning for much of Southeastern Arizona, including eastern Graham, southern Greenlee and much of Cochise counties through 6 p.m.

Outdoor burning is not recommended in those areas.

Winds east of Tucson may hit 50 mph on Wednesday. A wind advisory is in effect in Santa Cruz, Cochise, Graham and Greenlee counties through 6 p.m.

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