More than 19,000 firefighters have been battling more than 8,000 wildfires burning across nearly four million acres in the state of California. More than 26 people have died and thousands of homes evacuated and reduced to ashes.
Fort Irwin soldiers, residents and employees began feeling the effects of the fires and smoke, although the installation is more than hour from the nearest wildfire.
On Sept. 8, Lesly Shults posted to the Fort Irwin Connection page, saying, “Is it just our house... but, the smoke is inside & it smells so bad it woke us up & now we can’t sleep.”
Tiffany Turley said, “I have my rescue inhaler and this is the 1st time I’ve actually had to use it this year.”
Autumn Avila chimed in on the same page, saying, “It smells like mesquite burning. So sad... But I just have to keep reminding myself how absolutely lucky we are to be safer than most other parts of the state.”
Many spoke of respiratory issues, eye problems and bad smells, although some didn’t experience smoke inside their home or any other issues.
The Villages at Fort Irwin/Housing offered these tips:
• Residents should keep all their doors and windows closed until this passes
• Please use ceiling fans if you have them
• Housing suggests that residents who keep their garage doors open all day to cool off, will need to keep them closed
Housing also offered free HVAC filters, recommending that residents may need to replace them more frequently than once a month with the increase in smoke from the recent wildfires.
From the Directorate of Public Works (DPW)
Air quality recommendations:
How to roughly estimate air quality based on visibility without an air quality monitor or airport visibility estimate: Face away from the sun; Determine the limit of your visible range by looking for targets at known distances (miles); Visible range is that point at which even high contrast objects totally disappear; Use the values above to determine the local AQI
Reduce smoke exposure indoors
Stay inside with the doors and windows closed. Whether you have a central air conditioning system or a room unit, use high efficiency filters to capture fine particles from smoke. Ask an air conditioning professional what type of high efficiency filter your air conditioner can accept.