Even if your hometown doesn’t experience wildfires, we all have the potential to be affected by wildfire smoke. Here’s how to care for your air, based on where you live.
Every year in the United States, wildfires burn millions of acres of land, forcing people to evacuate and decreasing air quality thousands of miles away.¹,² Wildfire safety is important for everyone to understand because no matter where you live, your air quality can be affected by airborne smoke and soot. Here’s what different regions should be especially aware of.
Thanks to a rainy climate and deciduous forests, wildfires are rare on the East Coast. However, it’s still important to follow wildfire safety protocol during droughts and when spending time in wilderness or forest areas.
Smoke and air pollution tips: Despite being far away from the large-scale seasonal fires in the Western United States and Canada, the East Coast can still see outdoor air pollution from wildfires. Make a habit of checking the air quality before you leave your house during peak wildfire season, and avoid or postpone outdoor activities if the Air Quality Index (AQI) is above 150. The AQI measures how many airborne particulates are in the air. You can check the AQI in your zip code via AirNow. If you want even more air quality data at your fingertips, the Filtrete™ Smart App can save multiple locations to its outdoor air quality monitoring in the Places section of the app, and provide pollutant levels 24/7.
Like the East Coast, the Midwest doesn’t experience many forest fires directly. Northern border states like Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin might experience fires in especially dense forests close to Canada.
Smoke and air pollution tips: Wildfire pollution can have a major effect on Midwestern states. Consider keeping N95 respirators on hand for Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy, or Hazardous days that have Very Poor or Severe air quality ratings.
Fires in humid Southeastern states like Florida are rare, but drier states like Oklahoma and Texas can experience brush fires during droughts and especially hot summers.
Smoke and air pollution tips: Whether you’re in a dry or humid state, it never hurts to be prepared and practiced for dealing with pollution. Monitor air quality, consider keeping N95 respirators on hand to help reduce airborne particulate smoke exposure and keep a spare HVAC filter on hand in case your system needs an early replacement due to increased outdoor air pollution.
Wildfires are very common in these regions, especially in the summer. If you live in the Southwest or on the West Coast, keep wildfire safety information, wildfire safety tips and evacuation plans in an easily accessible place in case you need them.
Smoke and air pollution tips: Even though wildfire smoke can travel long distances, it still reduces the air quality where the fire is burning. An air purifier can help you get cleaner indoor air, especially if you live in an apartment where you don’t have access to the HVAC system. Filtrete™ Smart Air Purifiers come equipped with a light so you can easily identify your air quality at a glance. Even if there’s no wildfire near you, check the air quality before opening windows or spending time outdoors.
Despite being notoriously rainy, the Pacific Northwest gets wildfires, too. Oregon, Washington and even Idaho residents should have fire safety and evacuation plans in place.
Smoke and air pollution tips: The Northwest’s proximity to California means wildfire smoke can be a common problem, especially in the summer. Like those living in the Southwest and West Coasts, use air purifiers and run your HVAC systems and do your best to keep outdoor air pollution out of your home by keeping windows shut.
No matter where you live in the United States, being air aware is important. These air quality tips apply to all of us, even when wildfires aren’t burning.