Wildfire Smoke! July 19 2022, 11 Comments

Why is wildfire smoke bad for me?

Smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles (particulate) released when things burn. In addition to burning your eyes, these fine particles and gases can be inhaled deep into your lungs. This makes it harder to breathe and may worsen other chronic health conditions such as asthma or heart disease. Fortunately, most people who are exposed to smoke will not have lasting health problems. How much and how long you are exposed to the smoke, as well as your age and health status, helps determine whether or not you will experience smoke-related problems. If you are experiencing serious medical problems for any reason, seek medical treatment immediately.

What chemicals are in smoke from wildfires?

Wildfire smoke contains carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless and toxic gas. Firefighters working near the fire are at greatest risk for high doses of carbon monoxide. Areas even a few hundred yards downwind of the fire where there are high particulate smoke levels typically don’t have high levels of carbon monoxide. Signs of high carbon monoxide levels in the blood include headaches, dizziness, nausea and decreased mental functioning. Wildfire smoke contains other chemicals,many of which cause irritation to eyes, noses and throats. 

At what temperatures do forest fires burn?

An average surface fire on the forest floor might have flames reaching 1 meter in height and can reach temperatures of 800°C (1,472° F) or more. Under extreme conditions a fire can give off 10,000 kilowatts or more per meter of fire front. This would mean flame heights of 50 meters or more and flame temperatures exceeding 1200°C (2,192° F).

What is defensible space?

And how do I create a defensible space? Defensible space is an area at least 30 feet of lean, clean and green space surrounding your home. This space gives firefighters room to fight fires. Make your yard firewise by pruning shrubs and tree branches within 15 feet of your chimney or stovepipe. Remove dead tree branches that extend over the roof. Make your yard clean by raking leaves and removing dead tree limbs and twigs. Stack firewood at least 100 feet away from your home. Make your yard green by removing flammable vegetation and replacing it with fire-resistant plants.