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    • Smoke is dangerous to human health, and anyone in the western states is subject to an increasing dose of wildfire smoke every year. The number of structures burned, fatality count and acres burned by wildfires are primary metrics reported in the news. But I think the risks of cancer and disease related to smoke inhalation for tens of millions of people in the west is understated and also needs attention.

      And I have no idea how to protect myself. What is your strategy for smoke inhalation prevention?

      📷: smoke as seen from a hike I took out of Mineral King of Sequoia National Park last year.

    • I live in Portland, where we get bad smoke from forest fires once or twice a year. Right now we're getting some smoke from the fires in southern Oregon and California.

      I use a MERV 16 furnace filter and let our house fan run on low speed 24 hours a day. This filter is rated to remove smoke from the air, and it does seem to help, although opinions are apparently divided among HVAC professionals on whether a filter with such a high rating is necessary (some say high-MERV filters can restrict air flow too much and be bad for your system, but I haven't had any problems).

      I also have two Coway AP-1512HH air purifiers: one in the bedroom and one in the living room. These use HEPA filters and they're really great at removing dust, smoke, cat hair, and pretty much everything else from the air in a small room.

      For really bad days when she needs to be outside, @Felicity sometimes wears a filter mask. I'm less smoke sensitive than she is though, so I haven't gone that far (yet).

    • Last year when the big Santa Rosa fires raged, we rented an Airbnb on the coast and south where the air was clearer. This year I didn't think we would be affected but last night when I went running, I couldn't see the Santa Cruz mountains through the haze from my house near the base of them. I wonder how much ash I inhaled.

      A couple weeks ago when I shot this photo, I was like hmmmm.... I think I'm gonna go full Ryan and figure out filtration.

    • For me it is about how much time I have & how far I am willing to drive, but for people who live under the plume of a fire it comes down to staying indoors as much as possible & not engaging in strenuous activities. On the south end of Vancouver Island we have been lucky; though wild fires have given us reason to change our travel plans they haven't affected us at home.