After July, it is chosen period for wildfires to start in the western United States before welcoming a winter season. It has recently become a new trend of higher air pollution at the end of the year.
So, following the covid-19, the season of the grueling epidemic, we must be prepared for another case. As a result, it is an excellent moment to discuss wildfire smoke via our knowledge station.
What is wildfire smoke, how does it affect us, and what can we manage to do to face it? Let’s continue with Know Your Facts. Enjoy.
What is a Wildfire?
Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of tiny particulate matter and gases such as:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOC)
- Nitrogen oxides,
- Carbon monoxide
The color of the fire smoke depends on different compounds on the fire. The composition of the mixture is determined by a variety of factors, including the fuels being burned, the temperature of combustion, the weather, and the distance from the fire.
Besides wildfire smoke differs from air pollution created by traffic and industry, it is nevertheless damaging to health.
How do they Occur?
The main causes of wildfires are excessively hot weather and irresponsible human behavior. However, wildfire is caused by a number of different circumstances.
- Excessive hot weather
- Disregarded cigarettes
- Rub between trees due to wind
- Excessive wind
Even though most human activities have been reduced to a substantial level during the summer season, humans and all other beings are having a difficult time owing to wildfire smoke under-regulated higher temperatures.
Does Wildfire Smoke make us ill?
There are no good or bad any side to smoking. Almost all smoke types are bad for your respiratory system. As a result, avoiding a wildfire is the best thing we can do without facing the smoke.
Assuming you’ve been exposed to one, inhaling toxic air contaminants can be more dangerous than you realize. The oxygen level is rapidly decreasing between wildfires due to combustion.
In practice, you may run out of oxygen gas in a short period of time. Even if you manage to keep your oxygen level at the required level, the smoke and dust particles may cause you to lose track of where you are.
It could be the path of a wildfire or another dangerous situation. Particles in wildfire smoke can cause inflammation or irritation in your respiratory system if you are exposed to it.
This eventually leads to a number of medical conditions, including:
- Sore throat
- Stinging eyes
- Eye irritation
- Runny nose
- Mild cough
- Wheezy breathing
After a while, these normal health conditions lead to the following conditions, which require more concern than before.
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Severe cough
- Heart palpitations
When your exposure time to wildfire smoke increases, your health condition worsens more than we anticipated. It can cause far more dangerous health conditions like,
- Chronic inflammation
- Damage your lung tissues
- Inflammation inside body
- Decrease in birth weights
- Help with other long-term health hazards
As a result, having a proper understanding of air quality has become essential before leading to any unfortunate situation.
What can you manage to do before the arrival of wildfire smoke?
There are a few things we can do to combat seasonal wildfire. But the most important thing is to avoid actions that could lead to such a dangerous catastrophe.
Aside from accidents, some people try to start wildfires for pleasure or as a dare. But you can only imagine how much destruction it can cause to the ecosystem, both directly and indirectly.
Prevention is the best solution other than worrying about the massive disaster.
1. Have an Update About Real-time Air quality Behavior
There are a variety of national platforms and services that provide information on air quality behavior during the wildfire season and throughout the year. The main problem is that people do not reap the benefits until the final movement.
A few national platforms can be identified as follows:
PurpleAir is a community-based platform that uses low-cost sensors to quantify particulate matter in PM (10, 2.5, 1.0). This system is made up of numerous sensors that are installed, managed, and maintained by community members.
The data is then uploaded to the cloud every 80 seconds (or so), where it is saved for download and displayed on the PurpleAir map.
AQI, or Air Quality Index, is a means of reporting daily air quality in a specific place.
The EPA determines the AQI level in an area on a daily or hourly basis, depending on population or importance characteristics. The AQI level primarily.
AQI mainly considers the following parameters available in the atmosphere.
- Ground-level ozone
- Particle pollution (also known as particulate matter)
- Carbon monoxide
- Sulfur dioxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
Depend on Airnow.gov has categorized air quality into six sections for identification purposes.
The national weather service gives pre-alerts about wildfires through their own systematic procedure of maps.
Red Flag Warning:
Be exceedingly cautious around open flames. In collaboration with land management organizations, the NWS issues a Red Flag Warning to alert land managers to a current or imminent catastrophic fire weather pattern.
When fire conditions are underway or are predicted to occur soon, the NWS issues a Red Flag Warning.
Fire Weather Watch:
Prepare yourself. A Watch warns land managers and the general public that future weather conditions may result in widespread wildfires or intense fire behavior.
A watch indicates that severe fire weather is possible but not imminent or occurring.
Extreme Fire Behavior:
This signal denotes a wildfire that is likely to flare out of control. It is frequently difficult to foresee these flames since they act sporadically, sometimes dangerously. At least one of the following:
• Moving fast: High rate of spread
• Prolific crowning and/or spotting
• Presence of fire whirls
• Strong convection column
1.4 Fire Air Now
The AirNow Fire and Smoke Map is a dynamic map that displays data from ground-level air quality monitors.
- Counting fine particles (PM2.5) emitted by smoke and other sources
- Fire information, smoke plume locations
- Special smoke statements issued by various sources
AirNow reports air quality using the official United States Air Quality Index (AQI), a color-coded index that indicates whether air quality is healthy or harmful.
This map is the result of a collaboration between the United States Forest Service’s Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program (IWFAQRP) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
An arrangement with the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences was used to carry out development work.
2. Keep Indoor Ventilation maintained
In a wildfire emergency, the breakdown of the inside ventilation system is a huge catastrophe caused by smoke. Keep indoor airways free of smoke to avoid a variety of health effects and long-term harm.
2.1 Examine the interior air quality
Indoor ventilation should be monitored in the same manner that the air quality in your neighborhood is. Install an interior air quality meter to obtain a sense of how different air quality metrics vary throughout wildfire season.
2.2 Install an indoor air purifier
In every event of air pollution breakdown, air purifiers always provide a favorable atmosphere. Whether or not you have air conditioning protection, air purifier protection is always regarded as an appropriate investment.
2.3 Seal any windows, doors, and other leaks
If the outside air quality has a negative impact on your health, always keep your house openings closed.
Although doors and windows can be readily closed, there are always leaks to the outside that require professional assistance to confirm proper protection.
2.4 Update the indoor air conditioning system
In a wildfire season, the worst-case scenario could be increased levels of indoor smoke containing particulate matter.
As a result, instead of replacing the air conditioner system filter, a new filter set should be installed to prepare for the forthcoming circumstance.
2.5 Reduce indoor pollution-causing activities
Indoor barbecuing, grilling, and other activities raise the level of particulate matter in the air, creating a hazardous situation during wildfire season.
Even if you have a lot of setups, such as air purifiers and air conditioners in your home, they may gain weight as a result of these activities.
3. Put on a Respirator Smoke Mask
Masks have become fashionable in today’s society, thanks to Covid-19 risk attachments.
As a result, it may provide additional assistance for being protected from wildfire smoke. The issue is that not every mask is capable of filtering ash mixed with hazardous particle matter via its filtration.
It will be imprinted with the words “NIOSH” and either “N95” or “P100.” Make sure the coverings seal your nose and mouth well enough
4. Be updated with your medical condition
If you are already taking medications for respiratory systems health issues such as asthma or lung disease, inform your doctor about the current or approaching wildfire season.
The doctor will undoubtedly provide sound advice on how to be safe and keep your hygiene on track.
If your symptoms worsen, notify medical personnel as soon as possible because it can be far more harmful to one’s health than regular smoking.
Always listen to local NEWS and updates to see if there is any chance of going into safe zones.
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