🎉 Flash Sale: Save Big on Wear A+! Limited Stock – Don’t Miss Out!

🎉 Flash Sale: Save Big on Wear A+! 

US wildfire season 2024

How to prepare for wildfire season and keep yourself safe from smoke

With the weather getting hotter and dryer across the US, wildfire season is upon us once more – and this year already looks likely to be worse than 2023. Wildfires are uncontrolled fires that rage across natural and agricultural land. They burn vegetation, damage property and devastate both wildlife and human health with their intense heat and toxic smoke, which can travel over long distances and infiltrate people’s homes. However, there are measures you can take to keep yourself safe – so if you want to find out what the main health risks associated with wildfires are, how to prepare for wildfire season and how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke, read on.

What is a wildfire?

A wildfire is a fire that gets out of control, spreading over large areas and burning anything in its path, from plants and trees to agricultural lands, as well as many man-made structures and objects. In the US, around 56,580 wildfires were recorded in 2023, burning a total 2,693,910 acres of land. In just more than four months from the start of 2024, 13,422 wildfires had already ravaged 1,842,578 acres, more than two-thirds of last year’s total.

The severity and duration of a wildfire can depend on many factors, including:

  • The weather before and during the fire
  • The available fuel in the fire’s path
  • Geographic features in the area
  • How quickly and effectively it’s dealt with by local authorities

Why is wildfire smoke dangerous for your health?

Wildfire smoke is dangerous for your health

As well as the obvious danger caused by the presence of a large, uncontrolled fire, the smoke from a wildfire poses a number of short and long-term risks to respiratory and heart health. Especially in windy conditions, this smoke and the burning material that creates it can travel over many miles, even from coast to coast or from one country to another, meaning the damage caused by the fire goes way beyond the time during which it burns and the area it covers. The risk of wildfires occurring is expected to increase due to climate change, with a number of high-profile fires seen in recent years including the Maui wildfires in 2023 and the recent blaze in the Texas panhandle.

Just some of the health problems that can be caused by wildfires include:

  • A burning sensation in the eyes
  • Nasal discharge
  • Shortness of breath and coughing
  • Fatigue and lightheadedness
  • Skin irritation
  • Headaches
  • Bronchitis
  • Heart attack
  • Asthma attack
  • Stroke

People with pre-existing health conditions like asthma and emphysema are at greater risk of experiencing these issues, and children and the elderly are also more likely to be affected. Although wildfires primarily affect vegetation, they also burn lots of man-made materials; as a result, their smoke often contains harmful PM2.5 (fine particles that can penetrate into the respiratory system and cause serious damage) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as other poisonous substances. These toxins mean that in addition to the immediate concerns caused by simply breathing in the smoke, wildfires pose longer-term health risks too, including heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and strokes, among others.

How to protect yourself from wildfire smoke

Even if your property isn’t directly at risk from a fire, the smoke from wildfires can still travel long distances, making its way into buildings and affecting the air quality, so it’s important to take measures to protect yourself, your family and your pets from wildfire smoke and the harm it can cause – here are a few tips:

  • Keep track of fires in your area using an online wildfire map.
  • Where possible, stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed during wildfires.
  • If it’s really smoky, tape up air vents, mail slots, chimney flues and other openings.
  • When going outdoors, wear goggles and an approved respirator mask to protect your eyes and airways.
  • If you have a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, install a high-efficiency filter (ideally MERV 13 or above according to the Environmental Protection Agency, or otherwise the highest-rated filter that will fit with your system) and keep its “fresh air” option turned off. Also, make sure that you are replacing the filters regularly enough.
  • If your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter, it can be used to collect smoke and other particles that have settled on the floors, carpets and furniture – think twice if it doesn’t have one though, as it might just stir these particles up and return them into your home’s air. If your home has hard floors, cleaning with a damp mop is preferable.
  • Wash your clothes and yourself regularly, as smoke particles can settle on fabrics and skin. It’s a good idea to wash your bedding more frequently than normal too.
  • Use an air purifier with a high-quality HEPA filter when indoors – run it on high for the first hour, after which it can be turned down to keep purifying the air at a suitable rate.
  • After the fire has cleared, wash, clean and change everything once more – including floors, furniture, bedsheets, clothes and the filters in your HVAC system and air purifiers, which can become clogged more quickly than normal when there’s wildfire smoke around.

Can you use an air purifier for wildfire smoke?

A lot of the most harmful particulate matter from wildfires can pass through closed doors and windows, making the air inside the home dangerous to breathe in. Using an effective air purifier for smoke will remove those particles from the air, making it safe to breathe freely within your home again.

There are a few different kinds of air purifier for indoor use. Stationary air purifiers are most commonly used for purifying the air in larger rooms, while portable air purifiers are smaller and more compact, meaning they can be moved around conveniently. However, because stationary purifiers can only purify the air in one room at a time and consume a lot of energy, and portable ones don’t offer a hands-free experience, the most effective, sustainable and user-friendly solution is to use a wearable air purifier for wildfire smoke, like Respiray Wear A+.

Wear A+, which is worn comfortably around the neck, draws in air from below and uses a powerful HEPA filter to capture harmful particles, providing continuous protection by creating a constantly renewing “buffer zone” of clean air around the user’s face wherever they go. By not allowing the particles to reach the airways, Wear A+ prevents harmful smoke and toxic particles from being inhaled.

HEPA filters capture dangerous particles found in wildfire smoke

The most effective, sustainable and user-friendly solution is to use a wearable air purifier for wildfire smoke, like Respiray Wear A+

HEPA filters are designed to trap tiny particulate matter of all sizes, performing particularly well with particles smaller than 10 microns in diameter. For example, the H12 (equivalent to MERV 17) HEPA filters used in Wear A+ capture an impressive 99.7% of particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns, removing particles with this “most penetrating” size from the air. These ultrafine pollutants are the most common and harmful component of wildfire smoke, which can be blown over great distances and far beyond the fire itself.

Want to know more about Wear A+? Find out how it works and buy it here.

In this blog post, we cover:

Sign up for our newsletter and receive 10% off your next purchase!

Help us tailor our content to your needs by selecting your primary interest below: