Protect Yourself from California Wildfires
Even though the fall is fast emerging in Southern California, the temperatures are still high, and sadly, wildfires are still running rampant throughout the state. Although fires can occur in Northern California, the effects can be felt for many miles.
According to an article on Frontline Fire Defense System, wildfire season reaches its peak in September and October (on average, it begins around May- but due to climate change, the wildfire season tends to last longer than it used to), contrary to popular belief. Due to drier, stronger winds, that places the entire state of California in a more vulnerable position. That means the negative effects of fires, primarily smoke are still occurring. Then there are major implications, such as increased air pollution.
Before we go with some suggestions for protection, here are some sobering facts about the wildfire crisis in California:
- Over the course of its history, 3.2 million acres of land have burned in California.
- While there are fewer fires, the fires are becoming more destructive.
- A study from UCLA reported that the number of days of extreme fire weather has doubled over the last 40 years.
- In 2020, there were 122 more fires than there were in 2019 (there were 7,982 reported fires in 2019)
Staying Safe from Wildfires
While fires are a part of living in California, what are some ways you can protect yourself from the effects of the smoke? Here are some methods:
- First off, stay indoors if you can! This is one of the safest, and easiest solutions.
- You can use resources such as Airnow.gov and the U.S Forest Service Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program to keep track of air quality and fires. There are also apps such as Breathewell.
- Keep your doors and windows closed on smokey days.
- If you don’t already have an air purifier, invest in one. With an air purifier, you can protect yourself in your home. If you don’t have an air purifier, you can also make one of your own from a fan and other simples materials (see video below).
- Avoid activities such as vacuuming because this spreads dust particles throughout your space. Other activities to avoid are smoking, spraying aerosol products, running gas stoves, burning candles, incense, or other flammable products, among others.
- Use a damp cloth or mop to help capture settled dust and particles.
- Use fans and air conditioning to stay cool.
- If you do have to go outside, be sure to wear a mask, an N95 would be the best protection against particles if you have them available. While cloth masks help protect against assailants such as COVID-19, they do little to protect you from hazardous particles from smoke. Not to mention, it’s very dangerous to inhale ash.
For more information, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has an excellent article entitled Wildfires and Indoor Air Quality. You can also visit CA.gov for more information about wildfire protection. Although the wildfire season is coming to a close, it’s still immensely important to stay safe.
Earthwise Hauling is dedicated to creating a more eco-friendly and sustainable Southern California. Earthwise Hauling serves the Long Beach area, as well as the majority of Los Angeles and Orange County.