Is The California Wildfire Smoke Bad For Us To Breathe?
California wildfire season seems to get worse every year, with the smoke from the fires carrying a mixture of air pollutants, should we be concerned?
Yes, and no. Here's why I answer that way. NPR says that smoke from wildfires in California can make it all the way to Minnesota. They can be a risk to breathe, even in the Minnesota and Wisconsin areas. Jessica Gilman, an atmospheric chemist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was on an NPR podcast called SHORT WAVE and was originally studying air quality for the pandemic with people staying at home and then started studying air quality with the smoke moving across America.
Gilman said on SHORT WAVE, that the smoke clouds can carry incredibly small particles. They are called PM2.5 which are smaller than a grain of salt. They can follow air currents which makes them dangerous. They can also travel farther with some of them traveling all over the world. The colder it is in the atmosphere means it comes closer to the ground. She did say it is more dangerous in California, but that you can check the air quality in your area. The other thing Gilman said was rain and moisture can help clean the air too.
All of this sounds scary, but as the show goes on and the more searching I did, I found that the smoke becomes less dangerous the more it travels and so in Minnesota and Wisconsin, we aren't in as much danger as Oregon or Montana might be.
The air quality will become worse once the winter months come here like it does every year because of the cold air and being couped up inside your home. Health experts are recommending air purifiers or air filters in the home to improve the air.