No One Breathes Easier With Wildfires Raging

The massive wildfires currently burning in Western states are so intense it could take your breath away.

I wish that were a figurative statement. Unfortunately, the air people in those areas are breathing is downright dangerous. Not to mention as far east as New England.

Air quality is becoming a big problem due to out-of-control wildfires. They get larger and more intense every year.

I’ll get back to the topic of air quality in a moment. First let’s look at what’s happening out West.

Drought, High Temps Fuel Flames

Due to drought conditions and high spring temperatures, the 2021 wildfire season was expected to be a bad one. It has already proven to be that and much more.

Just in the first four months of the year, Arizona had 311 wildfires. That’s compared to 127 in the same period in 2020.

Through the middle of August, more than 6,000 fires have been recorded in California. They’ve burned more than 900,000 acres. In addition, over 1,400 buildings have been destroyed.

In Oregon, more than 1,000 fires have scorched over 600,000 acres. Damage has been estimated at 10 times what it was last year.

26,000 Firefighters Involved

The country’s largest wildfire has been the Dixie Fire in northern California. As of this writing, it was the state’s second largest fire in history. 

Among the nearly 900 structures it has destroyed are homes and commercial buildings. Plus smaller outbuildings and sheds.

More than 12,000 people in California have evacuated due to the fires. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in a variety of counties.

The National Interagency Fire Center says 26,000 firefighters are battling fires that have burned 2.4 million acres across 15 states. They include Washington, Oregon, Idaho and others.

Wildfires Contaminate the Air

The most obvious danger from wildfires is death for those unable to escape them. And even when homeowners are able to flee, their property can be destroyed.

But another very serious danger is breathing air contaminated by the fires. That’s why air purifiers and respiratory masks are selling out.

These wildfires produce a variety of harmful air pollutants. Wildfire smoke consists of several elements. Including carbon dioxide, water vapor, gaseous chemicals and particulate matter.

This particulate matter is a mix of solid particles and liquid droplets suspended in the air.

Particulates Enter Lungs, Bloodstream

These tiny particles can aggravate existing health problems. And increase the risk of serious heath issues. The particles have diameters of only 2.5 micrometers or smaller. They enter our bodies through our noses and mouths as we breathe.

They can be very harmful when lodged in the deepest recesses of the lungs. And in our bloodstream.

Sometimes they “only” result in burning eyes and coughing. As well as wheezing and shortness of breath. But they’ve also been linked to developmental problems in children. And mental impairment in the elderly.

Fine particulate matter contributed to an estimated 88,000 premature deaths in the U.S. in a recent year.

Know the Risks, Be Prepared

Anyone can suffer ill effects from wildfire smoke. But some people are particularly prone to it. 

They include those with lung and heart issues, and older adults. As well as children and teenagers whose respiratory systems are still developing. And pregnant women.

Recommendations from the EPA include paying attention to local air quality reports. And wearing an N-95 or P-100 respirator. 

Plus staying indoors as much as possible. And using common sense to guide your activities.   

Wildfire Smoke Travels Cross-Country

Poor air quality from wildfire smoke is not limited to Western states. In late July, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued an air quality alert.

It was due to smoke from Western U.S. and Canadian fires crossing the country. With the help of prevailing winds and the jet stream.

Massachusetts residents said they saw a film of smoke in the skies. And smelled the scent of wood burning.

Mark Friedl is a Boston University environmental scientist. He said, “Fires are intensifying. And when forests burn, carbon is released into the atmosphere.”

‘A Harbinger of Things to Come?’

Friedl also said that usually smoke from the West is concentrated in the upper atmosphere. And that it is normally only experienced in New England as haze.

But recent air quality issues from the fires “is pretty severe from a public health perspective.”

He added, “Hopefully this is not a harbinger of things to come.”

Friedl said that if the climate continues to warm and becomes drier in the West, “at some point some forests will not be able to recover.”

A Way to Protect Your Family

Staying indoors when wildfire smoke is prevalent helps somewhat. But it doesn’t solve the problem. Some smoke from wildfires will enter your home. There’s no way to escape it.

Fortunately, there is something you can do to protect you and your family. Regardless of where you live.

Scientists have found a way to turn the filthiest air – even it’s contaminated with microscopic airborne threats – into clean, safe, life-giving air.

The Patriot Pure Air Purification System is a revolutionary indoor air purifier. It gives you true protection from the real-life nightmare of dangerous toxins that fill the air in your home.

Not only from unexpected events such as wildfires and smoke, but also from the invisible toxins you breathe in every day.

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Vicki Plankenhorn - August 25, 2021
Born in Oregon in 1948, 4th generation. We never lived with smoke every summer when our forests were managed. They were properly logged and the slash piled and burned. We should take a lesson from our Native American friends who really knew how to care for the forests. We are not setting massive new heat records. We are facing heartbreaking destruction not only of our forests but of the wildlife and birds who have no way to escape a toxic environment, because of total mismanagement. Hope there is a turn before what is left is gone.

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