Wildfires Ravage West
Even while Texas mops up from Harvey and the southeast is being hammered by Hurricane Irma, the western U.S. is being ravaged with wildfires. Over 25 wildfires continue to burn throughout the Pacific Northwest. Montana alone has 26 fires burning. At last count, there were 77 fires burning in the western states. Forced evacuations, smoke-filled skies and unhealthy air are the result. For those working outside like farmers and ranchers, air quality conditions are particularly hazardous.
The American Lung Association offers the following tips:
- Stay inside as much as possible, with doors, windows and fireplace dampers shut – with clean air circulating through air conditioners and/or air cleaners. Residents should use the recirculation setting on their home air conditioners to avoid outdoor air contamination. Using whole house fans is not recommended because they can allow unfiltered outside air into the home.
- When driving through smoky areas, car windows and vents should be closed. Air conditioning should be set to recirculate to avoid exposure to outside air.
- Avoid exercising outdoors, particularly if you smell smoke or experience eye or throat irritation.
If you have lung disease, check in with your physician regarding any changes in medication that may be needed to cope with the smoky conditions. If you experience any symptoms, contact your physician immediately.
Check the quality of your air. Visit www.airnow.gov or download the AirNow app on your smartphone. Local radio, TV weather reports and newspapers also provide updates.