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Protecting Building Occupants from Smoke during Wildfire and Prescribed Burn Events



Tom Javins, Gail Robarge, Emily Snyder, Gregory Nilsson, Steven Emmerich


Guideline 44 is in development to provide building measures to minimize occupant health impacts during wildfire and prescribed burn smoke events. In 2020, over 58,000 wildfires occurred in the U.S. alone, burning more than 10 million acres (1). With the increasing number of fires and the large numbers of people living at wildland-urban interfaces, protecting building occupants from smoke has become critically important. Wildfire smoke is composed of fine particulate matter (PM2.5, less than 2.5 m in diameter) and gases. Breathing high concentrations of these pollutants can cause respiratory and cardiovascular health effects, especially for those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma or heart disease (2). While most healthy people will recover quickly from exposure to smoke during a wildfire episode, some susceptible populations are at greater risk of health effects, including, pregnant women, infants, children and older adults (2). This article summarizes interim guidance developed by the guideline committee to provide immediate information on this pressing issue, while it continues to work on the complete guideline.
ASHRAE Journal


indoor air quality, wildfire smoke, filtration


Javins, T. , Robarge, G. , Snyder, E. , Nilsson, G. and Emmerich, S. (2021), Protecting Building Occupants from Smoke during Wildfire and Prescribed Burn Events, ASHRAE Journal, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created March 1, 2021, Updated March 11, 2024