Wildfire Smoke

Going into this summer the Wahkiakum Health Department is urging you to prepare now for wildfire smoke. 

Here are some things you can do now to prepare

1. Know where to find information on local air quality.   Here’s a few places:

                Guidance on cancelling events or activities and closures schools

                Washington State DOH Smoke from Fires website

                The Washington State Department of Ecology’s Air quality website

                The Southwest Clean Air Agency (SWCAA) website

                Link to two local air quality monitors

                Washington Smoke Blog

2. If you or a family member has any heart or lung conditions, talk with your physician now about what precautions you may need to take if air quality becomes poor.  Make sure you have all the necessary medication and work out in advance when to seek medical care.  

3. Develop a plan for temporary relocation if the air quality become hazardous.

4. Consider buying a portable air filter with a HEPA filter.  Also make sure your car has a HEPA-equivalent filter.

5. Plan ahead now for how the adjust your home air conditioner to make sure you’re not pulling in hazardous smoke.  The same is true for your automobile AC system.

6. Make some pre-planned alternatives to outdoor activities.  That way if air quality becomes poor and you and your family need to stay indoors, you’ll have some quick suggestions.

7. For people, that need to be outside for extended periods of time, please consider buying respirator labeled N95 or N100 and learn how to properly wear it.  Click HERE for more information.  People in the higher risk categories below or who are chronically ill should consult with a physician before using a mask.  Wildfire smoke is bad for everyone, but some people are a more at risk; they are:

  • Children
  • People over 65 years in age
  • Those with heart and lung diseases
  • Those with lung or respiratory diseases
  • Those who have had a stroke
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals who smoke

Lastly, if the air turns smoky, here’s some steps that may ease your exposure to it.

1. Limit your time outdoors and avoid physical activity.

2. keep the windows closed.

3. Recirculate air (if possible) within the house or automobile rather than bringing new air in.

4. Keep your indoor air clean: refrain from burning candles, using aerosols, frying foods or smoking indoors.

5. Only vacuum if your vacuum has a HEPA filter.  Other vacuums may just stir up indoor particles.

6. Use an indoor HEPA air filter. 

Other useful links:

Working in wildfire smoke