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COVID-19 *AND* Wildfire Smoke? There's A Mask For That

Brynda Ivan

Oregonians are enduring two current calamities: smoke from regional wildfires, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As it turns out, one tool is helpful for both: face masks.

Travis Knudsen of the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency says it’s important not to just don any regular cloth face mask, though.

Credit Brian Bull/CDC
Smouldering stump and brush at Middle Fork Complex; COVID-19 pathogen

“Those masks don’t provide any benefits when it comes to your air quality and smoke. But the N95 or P100 masks do offer some protection," he told KLCC. 

"It’s important that your mask is fitted correctly for you and you’re wearing it correct to see those benefits, but if you have those masks, they do offer benefit to the smoke outside.”

The higher-end masks help protect against pathogens and particulate matter.  Social distancing and keeping indoors are further ways to protect oneself against smoke and COVID-19.

Copyright 2021, KLCC. 

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.