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Wildfires & Smoke: What You Need to Know

By VeSync

June 3, 2024   |    1 min read

Did you know that wildfire smoke can travel from coast to coast?  

In 2020, smoke from the 2020 California wildfires rose into the atmospheric jet stream and traveled all the way to the East Coast and even parts of Europe, partially obscuring the sun and even noticeably lowering the temperature in some areas.  

Just the mention of wildfires can make us feel some panic, but don’t worry. We’ve gathered all the info you need to know to feel prepared and equipped to protect your home’s air quality.

What Makes Wildfire Smoke Different?

Isn’t it just normal smoke in greater volumes?  

Not exactly.

Wildland fires can scorch hundreds of acres at a time, burning not only the landscape but also everything on the land: houses, cars, litter, and waste. This creates particle pollution, also known as PM (particulate matter), which is a main component of wildfire smoke. Particle pollution can include sulfuric acid, ammonium sulfate, organic chemicals, soot, metals, and pollen—nothing you want hanging around in your air supply.

What Are the Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke?

There are studies to support an increase in cardiovascular and respiratory-related symptoms due to wildfire smoke exposure. According to the EPA, people may also experience headaches, coughing, irritated skin, and lightheadedness.  

Top 10 States Affected by Wildfires

Some you may have guessed; others may surprise you. According to Policygenius, the top 10 states affected by wildfires are:

1. California  

2. Texas

3. Colorado

4. Arizona

5. Idaho

6. Washington

7. Oklahoma

8. Oregon

9. Montana

10. Utah

While it’s important for everyone to know the wildfire preparation guidelines and evacuation routes of their area, residents of these states should take particular care in creating a game plan.

How You Can Prepare

Here are a few helpful tips and need-to-knows.

Evacuation Routes: Know your area’s designated evacuation routes.

Emergency Kit: Create a kit with medical items, clothes, a map, a cell phone charger, snacks, and water bottles.

Emergency Contacts: Make sure your emergency contacts know your evacuation plan and how to keep in touch with you.

Gas Tank: Always keep your car’s gas tank at least half-full during wildfire season, in case you need to evacuate quickly.

How Air Purifiers Can Help

Air purifiers keep your indoor air fresh, no matter what’s going on outside.  

Air purifiers can help:  

  • Remove hazardous particle pollution 
  • Improve indoor air circulation 
  • Reduce airborne pet dander and pet fur 
  • Neutralize unpleasant household odors 
  • Create peace of mind inside your home