Wildfire Air Quality Impacts
As Southern California copes with record heat, and prolonged absence of precipitation, the increased risk of wildfires grows exponentially. During fire season, the months of May through October see the most wildfire activity out of the entire year. Due to an unusually wet winter season, vegetation has grown and begun to dry up in recent high temperatures and lack of rain fall. At the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD), we closely monitor air quality within our jurisdiction in the event of wildfires and inform the public on the current air quality and specific measures to take.
Wildfire Smoke Effects on Sensitive Population
• Lung or heart disease: Individuals with heart disease, chest pains, lung disease, and asthma , are at an increased risk from wildfire smoke.
• The elderly: Elderly individuals are also highly susceptible to wildfire smoke, due to an increased risk of heat and lung diseases.
• Children and infants: Children and infants airways are still being developed, and breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Children are more at risk since a majority of their time is spent engaging in activities and play.
Take Steps to Decrease Your Risk from Wildfire Smoke
• Check local Air Quality Index (AQI).
• Limit Outdoor Exposure: Staying indoors as much as possible during wildfires can help reduce your risk of health complications from smoke. Limiting or abstaining from outdoor activity is advised when smoke from wildfires are present.
• Keep Indoor Air as Clean as Possible: If advised to stay indoors from high levels of wildfire smoke, Keep all windows and doors closed. Use an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. If you do not have an air conditioner, seek shelter in a designated evacuation center or away from wildfire smoke activity.
• Follow Advice from Your Healthcare Provider: If you are sensitive to smoke from wildfires, or experience trouble breathing from smoke, contact your healthcare provider immediately.