Typical Canadian wildfire seasons peak in mid-July. But 2023 – a fire season that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described as unprecedented – has been no ordinary year.
“Fires started in early May and many are burning still as others add to the disaster,” says John Gugliotta, President of Paul Davis of Boston South, Boston Metro West, Rhode Island, MA, & Paul Davis of Southern New Hampshire and Maine, who adds that many states are battling blazes, too, as the U.S. fire season kicks into high gear. “Citizens on both sides of the border knew this was an extraordinary Canadian fire season just by looking out the window at the orange, hazy conditions that canceled outdoor events, triggered respiratory problems and made properties smell like barbecues.”
With so many regions obscured by thick smoke, Paul Davis team members across North America have been talking with customers about how to protect people, pets and possessions from the smoky toxins and stench.
Stay indoors: Eschew outdoor exercise or recreation. Deep breathing lodges infinitesimal pollution deep into delicate lung tissue. Protect pets as well, moving them indoors and delaying recreational walks until air quality improves.
Wear a mask: When venturing outdoors, don a mask with an N95, KN95, N100, or FFP2 rating. These types filter out the tiny particle pollutants that are the major health threat from wildfire smoke.
Protect and monitor indoor air quality: Keep windows and doors closed. Use commercial air purifiers where possible and consider buying an air quality monitor. Set air conditioners to recirculate and close outdoor air intakes. Avoid burning candles or using fireplaces, which can worsen indoor air quality.
Promptly treat clothing, electronics and furniture damaged by smoke: Paul Davis uses innovative restoration technologies including:
- Chemical treatments. Ozone, a gas found in the atmosphere, pushes odors out of furniture and clothing textiles, replacing smoke smell with a clean, fresh scent. Hydroxyls, created when the sun’s energy reacts with water and oxygen, also rapidly break down smoke odor.
- Physical treatments. Technicians may apply ultrasonic cleaning techniques, which harness bubbles produced by sound waves to drive odor from textiles or use pressurized vapor.
- Specialized cleaning products. High-tech detergents, surfactants, deodorants and the like carefully remove smoky residues inside delicate electronics like computers and televisions.
“Wildfires will always be with us,” Gugliotta concludes. “Four out of every five wildfires are caused by humans. Beyond that, lightning strikes our planet more than 100,000 times a day and up to 20 percent of strikes spark flames. All we can do is prevent, prepare and respond smartly to this ever more frequent threat.”