MESA, AZ - A fire continues to burn in Mesa more than 24-hours after it started in a brush pile, near Highway 202 and McKellips.
Fire crews say they’re confident it’s not going to spread, so they’re letting it “die down” on its own. But many people say they’re still living in a haze of smoke and it’s affecting their health.
Michele Campbell lives about a half mile from the 2-acre burn zone. The pile of debris won’t be out for at least another few days. “So you wonder if you’re going to have to call 911, and I live alone,” says Campbell.
The smoke started to clear Thursday afternoon thanks to the wind, but overnight Michelle says her asthma got even worse. She says, "I woke up and I had to use my nebulizer and I had to make sure that I had my rescue inhaler with me at work all day."
Campbell says, “If the winds shift back, it's going to get really bad again and I don't want to wind up in the hospital, and I know we have other people in this building that have asthma.” Now she’s wondering what’s next for the fire department. “What are they going to do? They're finally going to get water if it gets out of hand? I don't understand why they can't now."
Crews say the answer is simple. What's burning is too big and too dense. Water isn't working and adding more to the flames, would make just create more smoke.
Colin Williams, Public Information Officer for Rural Metro Fire Department says, “This was a tightly packed, very wet, very organic pile that has a lot of branches, a lot of stumps and a lot of cactus, that stuff isn't just going to burn like a campfire."
For her lungs sake, Michelle just wants it over. She says, “I hope they put it out, because, there are people that are going to struggle with it."
Southwest Ambulance says it didn’t get any 911 calls on Thursday from people in the area based on the smoke or breathing issues. Michele says, if it continues and gets worse, she may have to go stay with a friend until it’s out.
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