Get Ready For Wildfire Smoke
Current Forecast: The summer forecast is for warmer, drier weather. With this climate change, we should be prepared for more frequent and larger wildfires throughout the western United States and Canada. This will bring wildfire smoke into our region which can be unhealthy for everyone.
Information in multiple languages is available at kingcounty.gov/wildfiresmoke.
Prepare for Wildfire Smoke Season
- Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you have a health condition, like heart disease, diabetes, or respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD. Ask about how to decrease your risk on smoky days. People with asthma should be sure to have a care plan for days when air quality is unhealthy. Have inhalers or other medications in case you need them.
- Make plans for indoor activities for kids on smoky days. Consider what your children can do if they need to stay indoors when smoke levels are “unhealthy for sensitive groups” or worse.
- Consider getting an air purifier. Air purifiers with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will reduce the number of irritating fine particles in indoor air. More information on air purifiers: EPA's Indoor Air Filtration Factsheet (PDF).
- An air cleaner made from a box fan may be an easy and cost-effective way to clean air inside your home. Information on how to construct a portable air cleaner and important safety tips to follow while using one of these fans can be found at Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s DIY Air Filter website.
- Schools, camps, sports teams, and daycare providers should make plans for smoky days. Plan to postpone outdoor activities or move them indoors when smoke levels are “unhealthy for sensitive groups” or worse. Air Pollution and School Activity Guide
Know what to do to protect your health on smoky days
Check the air quality forecast. Air quality conditions may change quickly. Go to Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website (www.pscleanair.org) or follow them on Twitter (@pscleanair) for the current smoke level report for King County.
Stay indoors when possible. Limit your physical activity outdoors (including running, biking, physical labor, and sports) when:
- the smoke level is “moderate” or worse if you have a health condition (like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or a cold)
- the smoke level is “unhealthy for sensitive groups” or worse if you are pregnant, over age 65, a child or an infant
- the smoke level is “unhealthy for everyone”
Keep indoor air clean.
- Close windows and doors
- Don’t smoke, use candles, or vacuum
- Avoid frying and broiling when cooking indoors
- Use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter if possible
- Use fans or an air conditioner (AC) when it’s hot, if possible. Set your AC to recirculate.
- If you don’t have AC and it’s too hot indoors, go to a place with AC like a mall, the library, or a movie theater. If you aren’t able to leave and it’s too hot, it’s better to open the windows for a short time to cool the indoor space than to overheat.
If your health conditions get worse around smoke, contact your health care provider. Call 9-1-1 if you or someone else has serious symptoms, like trouble breathing.
Additional information can be found at: www.kingcounty.gov/wildfiresmoke
Purchasing N-95 respirators: www.grainger.com, www.amazon.com