Large Wildfires in Washington & Oregon: How It Affects Your Air Quality

A thick coat of smog.

Layers and layers of smoke covering the air.

The visible haze of air pollution surrounding the Pacific Northwest region of the United States as wildfires begin to take over in the Puget Sound region.

wildfires in Washington & OregonWildfires are growing rapidly in the Washington & Oregon areas and with the hottest & driest time of the year upon us, these fires are raging on, threatening homes and forcing evacuations in parts of Oregon & Eastern Washington. The Pacific Northwest is being submerged with two layers of smoke, and the smoke is even worse than they had expected it to be. The low-level system bringing smoke & particulate matter west from fires near Cle Elum and the high-level wind carrying smoke from the fires in Oregon are the main causes of this unexpected thick layer of smoke.

Air quality is a growing concern with the increase in smoke & particulate matter from the raging wildfires in the area. The Department of Ecology warns the air quality in some areas can be “unhealthy for sensitive groups”, according to Larry Altose, a spokesperson for the department. This can be very scary for people who suffer from chemical sensitivities or diseases that require non-toxic, chemical free air.

Wildfires can be very destructive to not only the environment but to our air quality. It can also be hard to restore the air quality back to its non-toxic state following a wildfire. Finding natural methods to repair the air quality can be difficult, but we will discuss the infallible solution to improving air quality following a natural disaster like the roaring wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.

What You Should Know About the Wildfires

“Basically, the Pacific Northwest is under a thick layer of smoke,” said Logan Johnson, a weather-service meteorologist.

The wildfires have already burned tens of thousands of acres and continue to spread in the Washington & Oregon areas. Johnson believes the smoke from the fires will act as an atmospheric blanket, which means the daytime temperature will be slightly lower and the night time will be a little warmer than residents are used to. For about 85 percent of Seattle residents, the results of the wildfires are some warmer nights ahead.

The thick layer of smoke in the air has made it hard for officials to perform their job. It has hindered firefighters efforts, making them unable to use air tankers and helicopters with water buckets because of the thick smoke in the air.

Areas to Watch Out For In Washington & OregonAreas to Watch Out For In Washington & Oregon

Ash covers many areas, as the wildfires continue to progress in the Pacific Northwest region. There are several fires in different areas that we need to keep an eye on. The largest wildfires include the following listed below.

Eagle Creek Fire

Bordering Washington and Oregon, the Eagle Creek Fire has grown from 10,000 acres to 31,000 over the span of a couple of days. There have been evacuations in the area since the merging of this fire with the Indian Creek Fire. Even road closures have begun on Interstate 84 and along the Columbia River Gorge.

Diamond Creek Fire

This Washington State wildfire has grown from 75,000 acres to 95,000 acres. The fire is located near the Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest with the smoke still affecting the air quality in the upper Methow Valley area.

Norse Peak FireNorse Peak Fire

The growing fire has more than doubled in size in the span of two days. With a total of more than 44,000 acres covered in flames.

Jolly Mountain Fire

With the evacuation of more than 1,000 people in the Cle Elum. The Jolly Mountain fire expanded to more than 23,000 acres.

Chetco Bar Fire

The fire expanded eastward from 150,000 acres to more than 176,000 acres. This lead to evacuations for all residents on Illinois River Road and the nearby coastal town of Brookings, Oregon.

Potential Health Effects of Smoke in Your Air

Potential Health Effects of Smoke in Your AirAll the areas affected by wildfires, also have had their air contaminated by smoke and particulate matter than can make their air quite dangerous for those breathing it in. Winds can easily spread ash and different chemicals from a fire including particulate matter, corrosive gases, oils, waxes, fats & other hydrocarbons. However, despite the nasty appearance in many areas including the Puget Sound region, the air is mostly safe to breathe, said Michael Schmeltz, an air-quality scientist with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. Counties have moderate air quality but it has to do with the size of the particles. Large particles of ash like the ash landing on cars in the Seattle area can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Although the larger particles that are caught by the lungs cilia, which filters out any particle larger than 2.5 microns, are caught, particles smaller than that go straight by the cilia and can cause damage to the lungs.

Washington, however, is experiencing the worst air quality since the intense wildfires of 2015. With the areas of Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Yakima, and Colville experiencing very unhealthy air quality in which health problems can occur, according to the Department of Ecology.

Solution to Poor Indoor Air Quality From Wildfires

Homeowners in close proximity to the fires are at an increased risk for air quality dangers, and many will turn to an air purifier to create better air quality in their homes. Many air purifiers, however, can not keep up with the high particulate matter in the air from the strong, toxic fires. As well as, work on a combination of chemicals, since wildfire smoke is an amalgam of different chemicals. It is vital to have an air purifier that works on a variety of chemical compounds in the air.

The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System is a simple and easy to use air purifier, that uses advanced technology to neutralize harmful & corrosive chemicals like those found after a fire. Fires have hundreds and thousands of chemicals that can be found in smoke and ashes, these chemicals can be very dangerous to people and their environment. The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System provides toxic and noxious chemical elimination capabilities in a system that filters particulate matter down to 0.3 microns in size. The EnviroKlenz technology can help with many components of smoke including corrosive gases, particulate matter, hydrocarbons, fats & oils, and resins & waxes. You may be asking how EnviroKlenz can accomplish this tough task? Well, EnviroKlenz utilizes metal oxides, instead of carbon or zeolites to help a variety of chemicals be broken down and eliminated using our technology, eliminating hazardous fire chemicals from your home’s air.

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The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System is your solution to remove VOCs from your home or office both safely and effectively. The unit is portable and once the EnviroKlenz-Air® Cartridge (size 14”x14” included with purchase) is installed it will begin to remove and neutralize chemical odors, allergy triggers, and malodors in the air.

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Corrosive fires can leave a huge impact on not only the environment around you but also on your health and your air quality. For many people, air quality can be a detriment to their health including those with chemical sensitivities and pre-existing health issues. Finding a natural solution to remove toxic chemicals from your air, like the EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System can help you restore your air quality back to normal after a natural disaster like a fire.

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