Prepare for Wildfire Smoke
Smoke from last year’s wildfire season is the worst Spokane Clean Air has on record. Weather patterns carried smoke from regional wildfires into our area, resulting in high concentrations of smoke that impacted many in our community.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, above normal significant wildland fire potential is predicted for July and August across the west.
Because we may experience significant smoke again, it’s important to be prepared. This is especially important for the health of children, older adults and people with heart or lung disease.
To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips.
• Have a plan in place with your doctor if you or a loved one has existing health conditions.
• Check current air quality conditions at SpokaneCleanAir.org. While there, sign up for air quality alerts via email or text.
• Assess your air conditioner. Begin by asking an air conditioning professional what kind of high efficiency filters to use in your home’s system. Also learn how to close the fresh-air intake when smoke is in the air.
• Reduce how much smoke you inhale. If it looks or smells smoky outside, it is best to stay inside with the doors and windows closed. Wait until air quality is better before you are active outdoors.
• Do not rely on dust masks or bandanas for protection. An N95 respirator can protect you if it is properly fitted and worn correctly. You should consult with your health care provider to determine if they are right for you.
Editor’s Note: This article focuses on air quality and health as it relates to wildfire smoke. If fires are a threat in our immediate area, it is important to follow directions from emergency response agencies and health officials to keep you and your family safe.