2022 Wildfire Season Forecast & How to Prepare for It
By Becky Dotson
5 min read
The 2022 wildfire season forecast looks to be on average pace with the number of fires from the past six years. Every year, thousands of wildfires burn across the United States. In 2020, over 33,000 fires burned approximately 700,000 acres in the east, while almost 26,000 wildfires burned approximately 9.5 million acres in western states*. Wildfires have taken many lives, damaged or destroyed thousands of homes or businesses and left behind millions of acres of scorched earth. With each passing year, the fires seem to get bigger, occur more often and cause more damage.
What you may not see is the problems they are causing inside our bodies. Smoke and the debris from wildfires can trigger asthma attacks, increase complications for people who already have respiratory issues and create problems for those who do not. So, it’s important you breathe the cleanest air possible inside your home and an air purifier is the one way to do just that.
What Causes Wildfires?
Wildfires can be naturally-occurring – caused by either the sun or a lightning strike, and overly dry or drought conditions. But so often, they are caused by careless humans who leave a campfire burning or even toss out a still-lit cigarette into just the right conditions. Wind, temperature, humidity and the surrounding elements can make them spread more easily.
What’s the 2022 Wildfire Forecast?
From December 2021 to February, 11,470 fires burned 486,758 acres. There is no wildfire ‘season.’ So, there’s no set time when they will happen or when they won’t. But because weather plays an important role in what can cause and sustain a wildfire, the long-range weather forecast for the country can be a good indicator of when we should be more aware of conditions and even more careful with fires we create.
Which U.S. States Will Be Most Affected by Wildfires in 2022?
The western part of the United States is typically where we see the most wildfires. But as we know and have experienced, they can happen anywhere in the country. Most of the U.S. will be under normal conditions for the chance of wildfires through June. But the National Interagency Fire Center says in April of 2022, the risk goes up for some parts of our country. It’s predicted that the southeast portion of Arizona and New Mexico, the western part of Texas, the eastern part of Colorado, the southern half of Georgia and the entire state of Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and South Carolina will all have above average chances for wildfires.
In May of 2022, the above average risk remains the same in western Texas, eastern Arizona and the entire state of Florida, but changes in other areas of the country. The middle of Oregon, the southern half of Colorado and the western third of Oklahoma and Kansas will all experience above average conditions for wildfires during the month of May.
By June, the risk will greatly increase for the western half of California and will spread across much of Arizona. The threat for eastern Texas, the middle of Oregon, the state of New Mexico, the southern and eastern part of Colorado, as well as southern Nevada and Utah will also be high.
How Can I Prepare if I Live in a Wildfire Risk Area?
Wildfires move quickly. So, it’s best not to wait until the fire starts to decide what you need to do to protect yourself and your family. The best way to prepare is to make your plan now. Create a checklist and make sure you go through it.
And you probably need to develop two separate plans if you live in an area with a high risk of wildfires – one plan would be needed if you have to evacuate because the fire is threatening your family or property and another if it’s nearby and you are being indirectly affected by it. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Know the evacuation route.
If the wildfires get near enough to your home or community, you may be forced to evacuate. If you live in an area prone to wildfires, find out what the evacuation routes are and drive them in advance so you will know safe places you can stop to eat, get gas and find shelter.
Make plans for your pets and livestock.
If you have to evacuate, you’ll need to figure out what your plan is for your pets and any livestock you may own. Figure out how you will transport your pets with you and where you can stay that is pet-friendly. You’ll also want to decide a safe place to take and leave your livestock, if possible, and how they will be cared for in your absence.
Gather all the emergency supplies you think you may need now. You don’t want to wait until the fire breaks out to think about going to the store for water, batteries or even a generator. You’ll be competing with everyone else and supplies will be low. So, stock up now on all the things you’ll need while they are readily available.
Designate a clean room inside your home.
If the fire gets too close, the smoke will get inside your house every time you go outside. It’s a good idea to designate a ‘clean room.’ Pick a room you can set up and seal off as much as you can. That way you will have a space where the levels of smoke and other particles are as low as possible. Keep the doors and windows in the room closed and don’t smoke or cook in it. And put an air purifier inside the room and keep it running at all times. Spend plenty of time in the room during the course of the fire to help improve the quality of the air you’re breathing.
Invest in air purifier.
Wildfire smoke is kills nearly 500 people in the United States each year. Air purifiers are designed to clean airborne contaminants out of the air and push clean air back out. Fire, and the smoke it causes, can create unhealthy and even dangerous breathing conditions for you and your family. If you live in a state prone to wildfires, an air purifier is a great investment for your family’s health.
It doesn’t matter if you keep the windows and doors closed, the smoke and carbon from a big fire will make its way inside. And it’s just not smoke you have to worry about. Depending on where and what they burn, wildfires can send plenty of lung-irritating contaminants into the air. An air purifier inside your home will greatly improve the quality of the air you breathe inside. And since you will be spending most of your time indoors while the fire is raging, it’s best to make sure you’re breathing the cleanest air possible.
The Best Living Room Air Purifier for Wildfire Smoke
If you live in a wildfire zone and want an air purifier for your living room – then we recommend the IQAir GC MultiGas Air Purifier. It works with a medical grade, HyperHEPA filter that traps ultrafine particles and gets them out of the air in your home. The unit works with 12 pounds of activated carbon to absorb smoke, odors and gases, giving you the protection of 100 chemical masks.
It’s expensive – costing around $1,300. But it works with three filters and will cover up to 1125 square feet, so, it’s perfect for large spaces in your home. It has an independent, number one rating for smoke removal and comes with a 10-year limited warranty.
The Best Bedroom Air Purifier for Wildfire Smoke
If you’re looking for an air purifier for your bedroom – then we recommend the Austin Air Bedroom Machine. It’s a significant investment – costing right around a $1,000, but it’s well worth the money. It has five stages of filtration, will filter the air three times an hour in a 500 square foot space and was developed specifically for bedroom use to help improve sleep. The company focused its design on making sure the purifier could pull the smallest particles, gases, smokes and VOCs out of the air to allow you to sleep well.
Austin Air says two separate clinical trials at Johns Hopkins University show the Bedroom Machine is highly effective at removing dangerous airborne contaminants from inside your home. It works with a medical grade, true HEPA filter that pulls 99.99 percent of pollutants out of the air and has a HEGA (High Efficiency Gas Arrestance) carbon cloth that works to absorb gases, chemicals and smoke. It’s made in the USA and comes with a five-year warranty.
Whatever plan you develop to protect you and your family during wildfires, you should make sure an air purifier is part of it. Unhealthy air leads to unhealthy lungs and an unhealthy life. Keeping the air clean as much as you can inside your home can make all the difference for you and your family.
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