Wildfires Are Impacting Air Quality Across the Entire US

Wildfire Smoke Is Here To Stay

Wildfire season has always been a challenge in the western part of the US, and it’s only getting worse. Back in the ’70s, the wildfire season typically lasted for about five months. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), however, climate change has made the fire season over seven months long.

It’s not just the West that is being affected. Smoke from the Canadian wildfires made it all the way down to Florida at the beginning of October 2023, and air quality in many parts of the US hit “unhealthy” levels from these fires. Per Stanford University, 2023 was the worst year ever recorded for wildfire smoke exposure in the US per person.

The effects of wildfire smoke on air quality are huge. The particulate matter in smoke from these fires can cause a host of health problems, including eye and respiratory tract inflammation, exacerbation of lung diseases such as asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and heart failure and stroke.

Exposure over a long period of time has a cumulative effect on lung function. People with respiratory diseases are the most vulnerable, as are young children and the elderly. Often, people of lower socio-economic status are more exposed and thus also at greater risk.

Communities Are Taking Action

Throughout the last two years, Smarter HEPA has partnered with California air quality management districts to provide over 870 of our high-capacity yet quite Smart Air Blast air purifiers for Clean Air Centers and wildfire Emergency centers across the state. These units are typically deployed in community centers, senior centers, shelters for the unhoused, libraries, and evacuation centers.

So How Can You Protect Yourself at Home?

The best way to protect your lungs from wildfire smoke is to stay indoors with the doors and windows closed. A high-quality portable air purifier with HEPA filtration and activated carbon is the best way to clean your indoor air and remove dangerous particulate matter. As you shop our air purifier collection to find the best model for your home, search for a model with a high clean-air delivery rate (CADR) and make sure it’s the appropriate size for the room you’re cleaning. Air purifiers with activated carbon filters capture the harmful gases in smoke, such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide as well as formaldehyde and other VOCs (volatile organic compounds). The negative health effects of wildfire smoke can be cumulative, so don’t wait.

Written by Michael Cole

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