Wildfire smoke

Wildfires continue to burn across the west and Michiganders are starting to feel the harmful effects, including breathing issues and trouble traveling due to smoke.

Wildfires continue to burn across the west and Michiganders are starting to feel the harmful effects, including breathing issues and trouble traveling due to smoke.

"So that smoke, as its lifted vertically, as it lifts vertically with the heat of the fire ends up quite high so the fires are putting it up there, and then it’s being moved by the air currents at the upper levels down over us," said John Allen, assistant professor of meteorology at Central Michigan University.

While some are capturing great photos of the haze, others are getting flare ups, especially those with lung problems.

"Let's say it's somebody recovering from COVID. Right, they were just in the hospital. They were just on a ventilator for two weeks. Their lung function is barely good as it is, and now the air quality has changed. And now all of the sudden you make it a little bit harder for the oxygen to get across that membrane and into the blood, and there will be a challenge there," said Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, ear, nose and throat physician.

Mukkamala said it might be time to break out the masks again.

"I've always been of a believer that, better to have some barrier than no barrier and block some percentage of those particles. And so you know, a surgical mask, which are now you know, a year ago they were hard to find, but now you can find them everywhere, is a good way to sort of filter the air,” Mukkamala said.

Mukkamala said it's unlikely for anyone to be hospitalized at the current air quality. However, Michiganders could be dealing with all this smoke for some time.

"At least for the next couple of months, depending on how those fires behave. More likely, is that we see, sort of see periodic flare ups,” Allen said.

Since summer air is typically more stagnant, Allen said it probably won't be until September when things clear up for good.

Copyright 2021 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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