Blueair Video of 211+ Auto sitting in room looking out over forestsmoke being taken in by  211+ Auto and putting out clean air

Blueair air purifiers and

wildfire smoke


air purifiers and

wildfire smoke

Blueair air purifiers and

wildfire smoke


air purifiers and

wildfire smoke

Understanding wildfire smoke

According to Climate Central, “Wildfires burning within 50-100 miles of a city routinely caused air quality to be 5-15 times worse than normal. Smoke generated by forest fires is comprised of water vapor, particulate matter and a variety of gases, including formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)."

These materials each fall into one of two different groups of pollutants: particles or gases. Each group requires a different method of filtration to successfully remove it from the air.

Smoke particle Icon wirth text: Largest component and most harmful Fine (PM 2.5) Gas icon with text : Nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde,  benzene, toluene

As stated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Fine particles...particles generally 2.5 µm in diameter or smaller represent a main pollutant emitted from wildfire smoke.. [and] are [the] greatest health concern. This group of particles also includes ultrafine particles, which are generally classified as having diameters less than 0.1 µm."

Click to read full EPA article

Blueair smoke moving on black background

Best air purifiers for wildfire smoke

A portable room air purifier can you help manage poor indoor air quality caused by wildfire smoke, as recommended by the EPA in their clean room guidelines. Not all air purifiers are equipped for smoke removal and there are several factors to consider. We suggest evaluating an air purifier’s performance in removing smoke related pollutants by considering the three points below.

Blueair Infographic: Why Blueair DualProtection Filters are superior for wildfire  smoke removal. Rendering of filter with pleated filter media as first stage particulate filtering (Captures particles down to 0.1 micron). Second stage filtering with Activated charcoal ( absorbs gases, emlls, and ozone. Examples of particulate and VOC’s entering the first filtering stage include: soot, gases, smells, PM2.5, chemicals, and ozone.
Filter type

Blueair recommends using a combination particle and carbon filter. The activated carbon-based filters are effective in removing fine particles as well as smells and ozone created by the wildfires.

Blueair Info graphic:  Clean air delivery rate tested (CARD) The higher the CADR numbers, the faster the units clean the air. Tobacco smoke > 450, Dust >400, polle >400
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)

Look for the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) for smoke. The higher the CADR number for smoke, the more effective the air purifier is at removing the harmful fine particles in smoke.

CADR indicates the air purifier’s ability to produce clean air by removing airborne particles at various sizes and represents the sizes with three common air pollutants: smoke, dust, and pollen. It is the most comprehensive performance metric for air purifiers since it accounts for both its ability to remove impurities and the size of its airflow.

Blueair Infographic: AHAM Verified  room sizes from small to large
Room size

Make sure you have an air purifier certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). All AHAM Verified® air purifiers are given a recommended room size.

It is important to choose an air purifier that can accommodate the volume of air in the room where you will place it. This ensures there is enough airflow (measured in ‘air changes per hour’ or ‘ACH’) to reduce pollutant levels consistently and over a long period of time.

Blueair Infographic: Blueair air purifier removal of wildfire smoke. Overall recommended models for wildfire pollutants. Left side of image shows chart listing wildfire pollutants and test standards. Includes: Fine particles (Largest  component and most harmful smoke & dust particles at 0.1 to 3 micrometers), test standard AHAM AC-1. Odor (ammonia, acetaldehyde, and acetic acid), test standard removal rate – JEM 1467-2015. Gas (nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, toluene), test standard- removal rate GB/T 18801-2015. Right of image lists Blueair purifiers effectiveness for each pollutant in measurement of “Ok, Good, Great, and Excellent”: Blue 211+ (Fine particles-Great, Odor- Ok, Gas-Ok), Blue 211+ Auto (Fine particles-Great, Odor- Great, Gas-Great),Classic 605 and 680i (Fine particles-Excellent, Odor- Excellent, Gas-Excellent), Protect 7710i and 7770i (Fine particles-Excellent, Odor- Excellent, Gas-Good). Some disclaimers apply.
Blueair removal of wildfire smoke

Blueair’s HEPASilent™ technology uses a combination of electrostatic and mechanical filtration to charge smoke particles entering the air purifier

with a low current – which in turn makes them stick to the filter media more effectively. Carbon within the filters helps to absorb gases and odors. 

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Recommended air purifiers

Protect™ and Classic

Especially during wildfires, recommended air purifiers from the Protect™ and Classic families feature activated carbon filters equipped to absorb higher levels of gases and odors present in smoke, as well as high Clean Air Delivery Date (CADR) values for smoke. Their relatively low energy consumption is also important when you need to continuously run the air purifier 24/7, especially during a wildfire. Our protect models also contain SmartFilters that accurately track real time usage, so can tell you exactly when you need to replace based on how polluted your air has been.

Blue Pure Auto

All Blue Pure Auto models have excellent smoke particle removal (the element which poses the greatest health threat) and consume relatively low amounts of energy – which again is an important consideration if you need to run them 24/7. While they all feature an activated carbon layer to reduce odor & gases, the 211+ Auto filter can most effectively reduce gas and odor from wildfire smoke. The 411 Auto and 311 Auto have lower removal rates of gases, chemicals and odors.’

Tips and tricks: preparation and what to do during wildfires

Blueair smoke detector with smoke around it
Test smoke detectors

Ensure they are in working order and replace batteries if necessary.

Blueair young child wearing N95 mask
Purchase an N95 mask

Consider purchasing a few particulate respiratory masks to wear outside when needed.

Blueair image of hvac filter
Replace your HVAC filters

Purchase extra filters to ensure maximum performance. Plan to replace before and after wildfire season. Select filters with the highest MERV rating recommended by your HVAC manufacturer.

Blueair HealthProtect filter being replaced
Replace your air purifier filters

As with HVAC filters, replacing your air purifier filters before and after wildfire season can help to maximize performance. Filters that also contain carbon are best to help remove particles and gases that make up smoke.

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Run your air purifier 24/7 and change its speed

It is important to run your air purifier 24/7, especially during a wildfire, as polluted air is constantly entering the room through ventilation or poorly sealed windows. Additionally, you can change up the speeds for more effective removal, running your portable air purifier on high and then on low fan speed to effectively remove both smoke and gases/odor.

Smoke particles are most effectively filtered out on highest fan speed so the particles are quickly captured in the filter media. However high air speed negatively impacts gas absorption, so alternating to a slower fan speed is recommended to let the carbon have longer contact with gases to absorb them more efficiently.

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Be prepared for evacuation

Conditions can change quickly, so you should always be prepared to evacuate if necessary. Follow your local news, the AirNow website, or your state air quality website for up-to-date information.

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Stay indoors and create a clean room

If there is an active fire in your area, or if the Air Quality Index indicates smoke levels are unhealthy and forecasted to remain there, local authorities may advise you to stay indoors or create a clean room rather than evacuate. Setting up a clean room at home can help reduce your exposure to dangerous or unhealthy wildfire smoke while indoors.

Everyone can benefit from spending time in a clean room during a wildfire, but it may be most helpful for sensitive individuals like the very young, very old, and people with heart or lung problems. Read the EPA’s full clean room guidelines here.

Have more questions about wildfires? Check our Wildfire FAQ for answers.

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