You’ve probably seen Cal Fire alerts that tell you to protect yourself from wildfire smoke. These warnings are well founded. A ground-breaking study by an international research team, reveals that smoke, specifically open grass and wildfire smoke, is responsible for an average of 339,000 deaths annually .
Fire burns. Smoke kills.
Yet, to understand why smoke is so dangerous, it is necessary to know what it is composed of. Whenever we work on fire and smoke emergency restorations, we see up close what smoke can do.
Smoke appears when an incomplete combustion occurs. Simply put there is not enough oxygen to completely burn everything. When this happens, particles that are unburned accumulate in air. These particles are extremely small, but when millions and billions of them join together we are able to see them. This is smoke.
During a wildfire, several materials are not fully burned. Substances like water, carbon, volatile organic compounds, oils, sap, and minerals (potassium, calcium, and magnesium) are released into the air. When smoke embeds itself in furniture and other items, we use specialized techniques and heavy equipment to completely remove these unburned substances. Because these particles are so small it takes time and concerted effort to remove them.
Now think about your lungs.
When you breathe in these substance, they can quickly settle into the deepest recesses of your lungs. This immediately hinders oxygen absorption. However, smoke introduces toxic items into your blood stream. When wildfire smoke is in the area, the danger is not only a matter of suffocation. Breathing in wildfire smoke can have a poisoning effect on the body.
Heed the Warning
Smoke from California wildfires injures and kills more individuals than the actual fires. When wildfires are nearby, follow evacuation procedures. If you have to be in the area and the air quality is compromised, wear face masks that block tiny smoke particles. Be especially careful if you have allergies, small children, or elderly individuals in your care.
Christian Brothers Restoration specializes in fire and smoke restoration. We also furnish water damage repair, mold removal, content restoration, water damage restoration, and emergency restoration services. We take every effort to get your home or business back to its original state or better.