Wildfires - the new normal?
The last couple of year’s record-breaking heatwaves and dry weather have allowed fires to ravage all over the world. Even though wildfires have become commonplace in 2019, the world gasped when the Amazons were burning, a fire that erased thousands and thousands of acres of the largest rainforest on earth, where more than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen is produced.
After the Amazonas fires were put down, our focus rapidly shifted to the Kincade Fire in California, where more than 200,000 people were evacuated from their homes. Shortly thereafter emergency bushfire warnings were issued all over South Australia, where wildfires across the state of New South Wales killed three people and destroyed at least 150 homes.
What is causing the growing amount of wildfires?
Wildfires are a part of the world's ecosystem, and human-made fires have been used by farmers for ages to improve the health of fields and harvest. This is all good and well, but due to climate change, we are experiencing more extreme weather conditions such as drought, hurricanes, and heatwaves. This results in more aggressive fires spreading over larger areas. Looking at the US, the fire season in California is now nearly 75 days longer than it was four decades ago. According to the California Fire Department, climate change is considered a key driver of this trend.
Staying safe during wildfire haze
The smoke from wildfires can travel thousands of kilometers, far away from the location of the fire and even days after it has been put out. The major health concern from wildfire smoke is the high levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5 or less), which are not only entering the lungs but can also spread to the blood system and other organs. People living in areas affected by wildfires testifies to smelling smoke in the air and feeling nauseous and experiencing headaches. Not knowing how to protect themselves from the dangerous particles in the air, many turn to hardware stores and pharmacies getting insufficient surgical masks, that offer poor protection against the haze. Many times N95 and P2 masks that actually do provide the right level of protection are sold out during fire season, leaving people with very little means to protect their health.
Our mask is tested under the same conditions as FFP2, P2 and N95. With a filter efficiency of more than 95% at 0,3 μm particle size, the Urban Air Mask provides highly efficient protection against wildfire smoke. You can order them online and add extra filters to be prepared for when there is a state of polluted air due to wildfires in your area.