MISSOULA - If you don't have a portable air filter or something to clean the air in your home, you can make one using a box fan and an air filter.
The filter does need to be high quality, a MERV-13 rating or higher, and putting it together does not take much time. The at-home clean air filter can be made by taping the filter onto the back of a newer box fan. Make sure the arrows on the filter are facing in the direction of air flow and use it in a room with the doors and windows closed.
Health officials say it is important to have a clean air space refuge during times of poor air quality to keep people of all ages safe from the harmful effects of wildfire smoke.
The people that are most at risk to wildfire and particulate matter within the smoke are children, people who are pregnant, the elderly, anyone with lung or heart disease and people who have asthma.
Also, increased exposure to the harmful particulate matter in wildfire smoke could increase chances of getting sick and may even worsen an illness like the flu or COVID-19.
"Really the best solution is to just avoid being in the smoke and having a cleaner air space to retreat to, where you can just have that respite," said Sarah Coefield, Missoula air quality specialist.
It is also advised to limit your use of candles, vacuuming and stove top cooking to help ensure your indoor air space is as clean as possible.