Every year, with another record-breaking wildfire season, our valley becomes more vulnerable to seeing higher levels of smoke from fires, near and far. One culprit is climate change. My work in the wildfire environment began over 40 years ago when I was a part time firefighter for the Forest Service. Now my role is as an Air Resource Advisor, forecasting wildfire smoke impacts to affected areas. Over the last couple of decades I’ve seen significant growth in the magnitude of wildfires and smoke impacts to larger numbers of communities. While we in the Roaring Fork Valley haven’t seen the weeks of hazardous smoke levels as other communities have its not to say it can’t ever happen here. We can’t immediately reverse climate change even if we address the contributing factors tomorrow that have led to where we are today. But we can take a cue from our natural environment and adapt. One way is to filter the air in your home with some air cleaning system that uses a HEPA filter. It is one way to weather smoky days and protect the health of your lungs and those of your loved ones. Call this my PSA if you will.

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