Wildfires: it’s more than just the burn; it’s the health impact
Wildfires are burning across the west coast, affecting both the communities witnessing active fire and those surrounding them—a study found that two thirds of the United States was affected by smoke-induced air conditions in 2011. The fine particles dispersed into the air during fire are linked to a range of health conditions, ranging from burning eyes to aggravating chronic heart and lung diseases.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that those living in areas affected by smoke and worsened air conditions take active steps during wildfires.
- Use common sense. Stay inside if it look smoky outside or you’ve heard reports of unhealthy air conditions.
- Pay attention to local air quality reports. Stay up-to-date on news coverage and visit AirNow for your area’s air quality.
- Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Avoid anything that burns—wood fireplaces, gas stoves, etc.—plus, steer clear of candles, wait to vacuum, and do not smoke.
- Run your air conditioner. Filter clean air rather than bringing contaminated air inside.
- Talk to a doctor. If you have heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children you may want to leave the area.
Take American Lung Association’s special precautions if you have lung disease, chronic disease, or diabetes.