On Monday, October 27, 2003, soft white flakes of ash were falling like snow from the sky. Dangerous wildfires were sweeping through the forests nearby, eventually destroying more than 600,000 acres and consuming more than 1,900 homes. Thousands of residents were forced to stay in evacuation shelters.
The smoke from the fire was quickly becoming its own health concern. Even as far away as the Las Vegas strip, visibility was poor and air quality readings were 20 times worse than they had been the day before. President Bush declared California a state of disaster.
We quickly realized that IQAir could make an important contribution during this crisis. Hospitals couldn't keep the ash out of their operating rooms and ICUs. Doctors and nurses were desperately duct taping doors and windows in an attempt to keep the heavy particulate from the smoke out of the hospital nurseries to protect the newborns. At the evacuation shelters there was a growing crisis – asthmatics and even healthy people were suffering from smoke inhalation.
IQAir rented a U-haul truck to donate air cleaners to hospitals, emergency rooms, and evacuation shelters that were affected by the crisis. We are grateful to have made a difference along with many other individual volunteers and companies during the wildfire crisis