Be Smoke Ready

Plan Ahead

If you live in an area where wildfire risk is high, take steps now to prepare for fire season. Being prepared for fire season is important for everyone's health.


medicine and supplies image

Stock up

Make sure you have several days' worth of medicines you take regularly. Keep a supply of groceries that do not need to be refrigerated or cooked. Consider purchasing supplies such as N95 respirator masks, a portable air cleaner, and replacement filters for your HVAC system and/or portable air cleaner. During a smoke event, it may be hazardous to go outside or drive, and appropriate devices may be in short supply.
clock image

Give yourself more time

Make sure you set aside time to plan and prepare for wildfire smoke, so you are not worried about planning during a smoke event. Consider how to stay cool at home with doors and windows closed. Talk to your friends and family about your plan. Consider your pets in your plans. Know where they will be allowed to go if there is an evacuation, and take steps to reduce your pet’s exposure to smoke as you would reduce your own.
healthcare provider image

Talk with a healthcare provider

People in high risk categories or with chronic conditions may be at a greater risk for health impacts. Talk with your healthcare provider about how to protect yourself against wildfire smoke. Refer to the Know Your Risk section below for information on high risk groups.
clip board image


As a part of your planning for a potential evacuation, consider developing a family disaster plan at Know what you need to do if you decide to leave the area.

Know Your Risk

Everyone should reduce their exposure to wildfire smoke. Generally, most healthy adults and children will experience relatively minor effects (e.g., respiratory irritation) and recover quickly from smoke. However, certain groups may be at greater risk of experiencing more severe health effects. Those most at risk include:


Make a Clean Air Room

During wildfires, smoke can enter your home. Setting up a clean air room at home can help reduce your exposure to wildfire smoke while sheltering indoors. Everyone can benefit from spending time in a clean air room during a wildfire, but it may be most helpful for people who are at greater risk such as people with heart disease or lung disease, older adults, children, and pregnant people.


portable air cleaner image

Use a portable air cleaner

  • Portable air cleaners are designed to filter the air in a single room or area.
  • Portable air cleaners vary in price and efficiency. Choose an option that is the right size for your room.
  • Do not use an ozone-generating air cleaner.
  • Run the air cleaner continuously on the highest fan speed to maximize filtration.
HVAC filter image

Stock up on HVAC filters

  • Central furnace or HVAC filters are designed to filter air throughout a home.
  • You may need to speak to a qualified HVAC professional about different filters and settings you can use to reduce smoke in indoor air.
  • Stock up on replacement filters. Use a high-efficiency filter (rated MERV 13 or higher) if your HVAC system can safely use one.
  • During periods of heavy smoke, plan to replace the filter in your air cleaner or HVAC system more often than recommended by the manufacturer. If you notice that filters appear heavily soiled when you replace them, you should consider changing them more frequently.
DIY air file icon image

Special note: DIY Air Cleaners

  • If you can't get a portable air cleaner, consider building a DIY air cleaner from a box fan and filter. Make sure the fan is a newer model (2012 or later).
  • Older box fans may pose an electrical/fire hazard and should be avoided. If an older model fan is used, never leave it unattended (including while you sleep).
DIY Air Cleaner to Reduce Wildfire Smoke Indoors
air filter and box fan image Learn about box fan safety tips here.
air filters image

Stock up on HVAC filters

It’s important to prepare now. If you wait until smoke is in the air, supplies may be out of stock or may not arrive in time to be helpful. Make sure you have a way to keep your Clean Air Room cool without pulling in outside air that may be smoky during fires. Window air conditioners or central air conditioners can help you stay cool. Use a portable air cleaner or high-efficiency filter (rated MERV-13 or higher) in the HVAC system to filter the air.

Know Where to Get Information

During wildland fires, your air quality can change quickly. Being prepared means being aware of wildland fires, knowing where to find information on air quality, and learning how to use the Air Quality Index. Here's how you can stay in the know about changing air quality conditions near you: