With record-setting wildfires blanketing large swaths of the Western United States in smoke, we thought it appropriate to speak to someone who knows a thing or two about wildfire smoke. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to the chief air quality meteorologist for the State of Colorado, Scott Landes, to learn more about the cause of these fires, their harmful effects, and what we can do to protect ourselves.
Northern California’s now infamous Camp Fire was not only the largest, longest, and deadliest wildfire in the state’s history, it also produced record amounts of smoke. Schools closed, there was a run on protective masks, and people were fashioning do-it-yourself air purifiers because there were none left in stores. And it looks like we will only see an acceleration of wildfires in the future. This grim forecast has brought a surge in traffic to websites that monitor air quality like AirNow, Weather Underground, and PurpleAir. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with the founder and CEO of PurpleAir, a company that sells laser air quality sensors for home use at a reasonable price, and posts all the results in real-time on its site. We discuss PurpleAir’s business model, its unique brand of crowd-sourcing technology, and examine the ways that it casts the world in a different, and sometimes frightening, light.