Recommendation from the West Coast to the East Coast on staying secure below smoky skies : NPR

Recommendation from the West Coast to the East Coast on staying secure below smoky skies : NPR


NPR’s Ailsa Chang speaks with Mom Jones editor-in-chief Clara Jeffery about recommendation she’s realized residing below smoky skies after 22 years in San Francisco.


It has been a surreal couple of days right here on the East Coast. Simply wanting down the road right here from NPR, the U.S. Capitol is cloaked in a smoky haze. The sky is that this bizarre white. Ailsa, I’ve seen so many pictures of skies like that out West, the place you’re.



KELLY: However I’ve by no means actually felt it right here – this complete waking up with a scratchy throat, scratchy eyes.

CHANG: I do know. I imply, Mary Louise, welcome to our world.

KELLY: Yeah.

CHANG: It is simply one thing we’re used to residing with out right here in California. Like, you recognize, we have now an entire wildfire season. It is commonplace for an enormous hearth to be burning shut sufficient that we see the skies change coloration and we’re all informed to remain inside. And, you recognize, you retain obsessively refreshing your air high quality maps in your telephone to see should you can lastly go working that day.

KELLY: Precisely. I made a decision to not go working – skipped it this morning…

CHANG: Good transfer.

KELLY: …To sleep in, which – I suppose a whole lot of Individuals are getting a glimpse proper now of what you West Coasters are nicely used to.

CHANG: Yeah.

KELLY: That is what scientists have been predicting. The planet is warming. We’re going to see extra wildfires, extra extreme wildfires, and an increasing number of of us are going to should get used to residing with smoke.

CHANG: Completely. And with that in thoughts, I’ve Clara Jeffery on the road with us now. She’s editor-in-chief of Mom Jones. And as a longtime resident of San Francisco, she has had a whole lot of expertise residing with smoky air. Welcome.

CLARA JEFFERY: Thanks a lot for having me, Ailsa.

CHANG: Nicely, thanks for being with us. OK. So what sensible suggestions do you may have for coping with all of this? Like, what’s in your, quote-unquote, “smoky air toolkit”?

JEFFERY: My recommendation is simply that it is time for people who usually are not as used to this as we’re to obtain some air high quality index maps in order that they’ll have a way of not solely what the air is like round them proper now however what they could anticipate. You can use painter’s tape to seal your home windows when you have outdated, leaky home windows like so many people in San Francisco have. You are able to do issues like not run your rest room followers and hood exhaust followers as a result of these have a tendency to tug air instantly from outdoors.

CHANG: Are air purifiers price it?

JEFFERY: You realize, I believe they’re, definitely out west. I’ve a number of in my family along with no matter HVAC programs can be found. So sadly, I do assume it is in all probability one thing that extra of the remainder of the nation goes to spend money on to kind of catch as a lot particulate matter as you probably can and hold your indoor air nearly as good as it may be.

CHANG: All proper. So the very best coverage is to remain indoors. However, like, should you’re somebody who must go outdoors, prefer to stroll your canine or possibly you are a type of individuals who actually, actually need to train outdoors, what would you suggest that individuals put on or do whereas they’re outdoors?

JEFFERY: I do not assume anybody ought to be exercising outdoors when air high quality is within the harmful to hazardous zone and even the unhealthy zone. Wildfire smoke is 10 instances extra harmful than automotive exhaust and smog. And any form of smoke can have everlasting harm not simply to your lungs, however, you recognize, it has cognitive results, notably when little youngsters are uncovered. So it is – do not. No working…

CHANG: Simply do not.

JEFFERY: …When it is smoky. Simply do not.

CHANG: Proper. But when it is unavoidable – like, I do should stroll my canine. Do you suggest carrying an N95 masks?

JEFFERY: Yeah, N95s and K95s and all of these are nice. The particles in wildfire smoke are larger than virus particulates, because it had been. So even a bandana or one thing like that that we kind of realized would not give you a lot safety in opposition to COVID does give you some safety.

CHANG: Nicely, wildfire smoke – you recognize, it is within the information at the moment due to the Canadian wildfires. However we’re additionally heading into peak wildfire season out right here within the West and within the Southwest. So what’s your long-term preparation routine?

JEFFERY: Nicely, I took this unlucky incident for the East Coast to reorder my furnace filters and ensure that I had air purifiers in the home, that I’ve clear filters for that, that I’ve sufficient N95 masks and that form of a factor. Sadly, the preparation and abilities all of us realized for COVID – a lot of them apply right here.

CHANG: So a whole lot of us are well-practiced.

JEFFERY: Chances are you’ll not understand it, however sure.

CHANG: Clara Jeffery, editor-in-chief of Mom Jones. Thanks a lot for all of your recommendation.

JEFFERY: Thanks a lot.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Go to our web site phrases of use and permissions pages at for additional info.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content is probably not in its remaining kind and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability could differ. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio document.