Beware a ‘Devil’s Bargain’ When Wildfire Season Begins
When wildfire smoke begins to affect western Montana, as it is predicted to do this fire season, Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield warns of what she calls a 'Devil's Bargain'.
Coefield, with the Missoula City County Health Department, said the 'Devil's Bargain' can occur by opening windows at night to cool down a hot house.
"One of the great benefits of living in Montana is we have these hot days followed by cool nights that can be so effective in reducing the heat that builds up in our homes," Coefield began. "But, during the wildfire season, this can really feel like a 'Devil's bargain' because the smoke oftentimes pools at night and that nice cool air that comes down from the mountains and pools in the valley can bring smoke down with it."
Coefield said this phenomenon can be countered by having an air purifying unit in the room.
"What you can do is open your windows and let that cool smokey air in, and as soon as you've cooled down enough, shut the window and turn on your air purifier and let that clean your space," she said. "You should have a cooler space that also has cleaner air within an hour or two."
Coefiled said many chain and big box stores are already carrying this season's supply of air purifiers and HEPA air filters.