Protecting your lungs during wildfire season

Posted at 8:11 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 18:12:45-04

As fires burn across the state air quality remains a concern. The smokey conditions aren't just annoying they also pose health risks.

Wildfire smoke is made up of a mix of particles from anything that's been burned, including plants, buildings, and even trash. This makes wildfire smoke particularly damaging for your lungs. Even healthy people may experience trouble breathing normally, a cough, wheezing, and irritated eyes,

During the pandemic, lung health is especially important. Here are some tips to keep yourself safe from the smoke:

  • Try to limit your exposure to smoke. That means staying inside when you can.
  • Be sure to keep your windows closed so unhealthy air doesn't get into your home.
  • If you can change your air filters and use an air purifier. Experts say it would also be beneficial.
  • Most people are wearing masks right now but homemade cloth masks won't protect your lungs. However, N95 masks are effective when it comes to smoke. So if you have one be sure to wear it if you go out.


Put together your emergency supply kit long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate.

Emergency Supply Kit Checklist:

  • Face masks or coverings
  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
  • Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
  • Prescriptions or special medications
  • Change of clothing
  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
  • Don’t forget pet food and water!

Items to take if time allows:

  • Easily carried valuables
  • Family photos and other irreplaceable items
  • Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
  • Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.

Always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.