Breathing Wildfire Smoke Is Serious. Tips To Stay Safe, Missoula.
Fire season is no joke in Montana. The damage done to our favorite public and private forests is devastating, but what about the damage done to you? Here are some guidelines to try and stay safe during fire season.
As I'm writing this article I'm literally staring out our station window. Usually the view is filled with mountains and blue sky. Right now? Not so much. With two large fires burning in our area, the smoke has rolled in and settled right on top of Missoula. This means health concerns for all of us, and they can be very serious. Smoke is made up of fine particles of burnt trees. Ya, that's what you are inhaling, and obviously it's bad. If you are new to Montana, and this is your first fire season, listen up and stay safe.
There are many things you can do to stay a bit safer. Many of these seem like common sense, but even I find myself breaking these simple steps.
Keep your windows closed
Look, I know it's still smoldering hot out and a nice breeze through your window is great at night. Many of us don't have central A.C, so throwing a fan in the window in the evening is a great cheat code. This is a horrible idea. Your are literraly blowing smoke and ash right into your home, and getting it back out is pretty much impossible. I woke up this morning smelling like a campfire with my sinus' on fire.
Filter Your Air
If you do end up pulling the bonehead move that I did, and you need to get the air out of your home, do it as quickly as possible. Use a portable air cleaner or high-efficiency filter to remove fine particles from the air.
Avoid Exercise and Outdoor Exposure
I know, man. It's still Summer and we've only got so many days of nice weather, but it might not be worth it. Missoula is epic for our hiking and running trials, golf courses, and exercise events. Working up your heart rate and inhaling these smoke particles in large quantities is a no-no. If you absolutely have to exercise, get inside the gym. Many places will let you purchase a day pass.
Consider Wearing A Mask (Specifically N95 Respirator)
I know, I know. Some of you are freaking out right now. We've all been through the mask apocalypse these past few years, but if you are susceptible to respiratory infections, have underlying health issues, or elderly, these could prevent major health issues. The silver lining is nobody will look at you like a weirdo, because you know, *gestures broadly at the last few years.
Once again, use your common sense. Don't take unnecessary risks. Stay safe, Montana.