Wildfire smoke may be more harmful and dangerous to humans than wildfire. This is because it stays in the atmosphere longer and seeps into places in the house. In this article, we will discuss how wildfire smoke impacts homes; homes include the structure of the home and the people living in them. 

Wildfire smoke can cause property damage, structural damage, health hazards, corrosion, a risk of fire, and long-term effects on the health of plants. 

Let us discuss these further. 

What Does Wildfire Smoke Consist Of?

What makes wildfire smoke so detrimental to the area that it affects? The particles in it. Each component of wildfire smoke is discussed below. 

These particles are responsible for most health hazards that result after a wildfire and negatively impact vulnerable populations like children and the elderly. 

  • Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) – These are tiny particles carried along in smoke that can easily be breathed into the lungs and cause respiratory problems, such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.
  • Carbon Monoxide – CO is a colorless and odorless gas that can cause death if experienced in high concentrations. It causes headaches, nausea, and dizziness and can even lead to death in extreme cases.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – These chemicals can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) – PAH is the most dangerous component which causes cancer and other health problems.
  • Ozone – This gas can cause coughing, throat irritation, and chest pain, especially for people with asthma or other respiratory problems.
  • Soot – This black, powdery substance can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat and cause respiratory problems.

Damage To Property

Smoke can cause significant property damage. Below are some ways in which smoke can lead to property damage. This damage is reversible and can be repaired. 

Smoke Damage

The smoke of wildfires can seep into houses and harm furniture, carpets, and other household items. The smoke leaves behind a strong odor that can cause discomfort and may be difficult to remove from the items in your home. 

Soot Damage

A component of smoke is soot. This is what gives the smoke its black color. Soot tends to settle and accumulate on surfaces. This may lead to black walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, and other left exposed items. 


Smoke can react with metals and cause corrosion on surfaces. This may damage some fixtures and appliances in your home. 

Water Damage

To deal with the fire, firefighters must have been called. The bursts of water blasted on properties can cause significant structural damage. The water takes a long time to dry out and may weaken the structure or increase the risk of mold. 

Risk Of Fire

Smoke has particles in it, but it also has the ability to carry other particles along. Due to this, the chances of smoke starting a new fire increase a lot. If smoke carries along flammable materials, the smoke is putting your home at risk again. 


The gaps and openings left in the structure, due to the immense damage that smoke caused, can allow intruders to enter. These intruders can be pests, molds, and other such issues, which can cause long-term damage to the structure. Dealing with such issues is also difficult and time-consuming. 

Health Hazard

The people living in a home are as important as the home itself. It is necessary to understand the long-term effects of wildfire smoke on people regarding their physical and mental health. 

Respiratory Problems

Wildfire smoke can cause respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and asthma attacks. People with pre-existing respiratory conditions or allergies may be particularly vulnerable to the long-term effects of wildfire.

The air quality decreases to a point where breathing can become quite difficult. Long-term issues like bronchitis, emphysema, and even lung cancer may be seen if such issues are faced in the short run. 

The impacts on children are the most concerning as they are the most vulnerable to developing diseases due to their weak immune systems and adapting bodies. 

Cardiovascular Problems

Exposure to fine Particulate matter (PM) from smoke can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and strokes. The tendency for people to develop cardiovascular diseases and struggle with them increases greatly in a wildfire. 

Decreased Property Value

Homes damaged by wildfire smoke can have a lower property value, making it more difficult to sell or rent the property in the future.

Wildifire’s Effects On Plants And Trees

Plants are an important part of homes and add to their beauty and aesthetics of it. Unfortunately, plants are the worst struck in wildfires. The surviving trees cannot cope with the smoke even when the wildfire has passed. 

Their growth and development need to be improved. Below we discuss why this happens. 

Reduced Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is one of the key processes that plants undergo to sustain themselves. The provision of sunlight is essential to the process. Due to the dense smoke layer that forms, during and after wildfires, in the atmosphere, sunlight is blocked. 

This reduces photosynthesis leading to reduced plant growth. 

Damaged leaves 

When the smoke settles on leaves and surrounds them, leaves begin to get damaged. The tissues and cells begin dying, or the leaves begin yellowing. 

Soil Contamination

Like smoke settling on leaves, it also settles on the soil trees grow in. A specific soil environment is needed to foster the growth of plants, but smoke disrupts the system. It alters the pH level, adds chemicals to the soil, and reduces the nutrient content of the soil. 

Reduced Seed Germination

Due to the reduction in photosynthesis, scarcity of nutrients, and damage, the plants begin to shut down. Seed germination rates decrease, and plants cannot reproduce as much as they could before. 

Susceptibility To Pests And Disease

Due to the poor state of plants, the plants’ immunity decreases as well. Smoke makes them more susceptible to attacks by pests and other diseases. 

Altered Plant Chemistry

Smoke can change the chemical composition of plants, altering their flavor and nutritional value.

Delayed Flowering

Smoke can delay or disrupt the timing of plant flowering, affecting pollination and reproduction.

How To Protect Your Home From Long-Term Effects Of Wildfire Smoke?

Use air filters – High-efficiency air filters with a MERV rating of 13 or higher in your HVAC system can help trap smoke particles and purify the air inside your home. For added caution, portable air purifiers can be installed in each room. 

Use an air conditioning system – An air conditioning system ensures that the air inside your home stays inside your home and no air from the outside enters. This is important in the months following a wildfire to ensure the house is not polluted. 

A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter – Clean your entire home after a wildfire, but use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove smoke particles from carpets, upholstery, and other surfaces. You can do this occasionally to ensure no smoke particles are left. 

Focus on your health – You have been through enough during the wildfire. Take a break and allow yourself healthy foods, drinks, and rejuvenating items. This can help cleanse your body. If you are exposed to smoke, a healthier lifestyle following the exposure can reduce your risk of developing diseases. 

Prepare for the next wildfire season – Begin working on your to ensure that the next wildfire season is easier on you. 

Final Thoughts

Wildfire smoke is increasingly becoming a cause for concern for most health authorities. While research begins to navigate how to deal with this, you must do your part. Take all necessary precautions.