Hazy Sky Country: Will Masks Block Wildfire Smoke in Montana?
Thankfully Montana isn't having a massive wildfire season right now. (Knock on wood) But, we are still being inundated with wildfire smoke coming from other states. Most now recognize that those cloth masks were worthless when it came to COVID-19, but should you grab a COVID mask to protect yourself from wildfire smoke?
Some of you may recall when this story came up two years ago in September of 2020. We were in the first Fall after the pandemic, and we were in the midst of a fire season. That's when KTVQ-TV did a story featuring a Billings doctor who was warning people that the cloth masks would not protect you from wildfire smoke.
Why wouldn't the masks protect you from wildfire smoke? Because the particles are too small and would not be blocked by the cloth masks. I remember thinking at the time- wait a minute, aren't virus particles SMALLER than wildfire smoke particles. Yes, they are.
Back in September of 2020, I pointed to this piece at AND Magazine which notes how the CDC was warning people that cloth face masks will not protect against wildfire smoke. The headline continues, "But Still Insist They Protect Against Coronavirus Which Is Even Smaller Than Wildfire Particulate?"
Here's more from AND Magazine:
Coronavirus particles are .12 microns in size (or up to 1.2 microns) and the harmful particles in smoke are .4 to .7 microns.
Cororonvirus – at .12 microns in size – “is about a quarter the size of the smoke and fire debris particulate.” So if the CDC says that cloth masks won’t filter out the harmful and larger smoke particles, why do they suggest that a cloth mask is effective in filtering out the much smaller (.12 microns) coronavirus?
By the way, for those who aren't familiar with AND Magazine- it is the publication edited by former CIA Operations Officer Sam Faddis. "His last assignment prior to retirement in May of 2008 was as head of the CIA's terrorist Weapons of Mass Destruction unit."
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