Educate: Wildfires are part a part of life in the west, and a single wildfire can burn thousands of acres before they are contained. Some wildfires are necessary for ecosystem health, but wildfires always produce smoke. Particulate matter, a term for small particles suspended in the air, are the primary pollutant in smoke from wildfires.
Enact: Particulate matter may lead to respiratory issues, even in healthy individuals, and may aggravate pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality works with other agencies to monitor wildfire activity and evaluate potential impacts from smoke.
Empower: While the average Wyoming resident cannot fight a wildfire themselves (unless of course they are on a fire response team) there are strategies for reducing smoke exposure. AirNow recommends, among other things, staying indoors and running an air conditioner with a clean filter if possible. To see current air quality conditions in Wyoming for particulate matter and other pollutants visit http://www.wyvisnet.com/.
- National Interagency Fire Center: https://www.nifc.gov/index.html
- U.S. Forest Service: https://www.fs.fed.us/managing-land/fire
- AirNow, smoke health effects: https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=smoke.index
- National air quality conditions: https://www.airnow.gov/