Santa Fe women build air purifiers to combat smoke pollution during wildfire season

New Mexico News

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Wildfire season is upon us and there is one thing people should add to their list to be prepared, air purifiers. In emergencies, the essentials run out fast. Wildfires and poor air quality go hand in hand. Once the air quality goes down, people run for the essentials including air purifiers.

“An air purifier isn’t something that’s on everyone’s to-buy list when they make their Target run,” said Carrie Wood. When you need one it could already be too late, which is what Wood found out.

“The problem is that when you actually really need it, like when your air quality is poor, everyone around you, their air quality is also poor,” said Wood. In a pinch, you do have another option, build one yourself.

“YouTube, everything is on YouTube. We just did a lot of research online,” said Wood. Wood and a group of women, the Three Sisters Collective, didn’t just build one. They built over 60 air purifiers for the Santa Fe area and Indigenous communities when they ran out during the Medio Fire in 2020.

“A 20×20 air purifier fits perfectly on a box fan,” said Wood. Taking a filter, a box fan, and some duct tape, and creates an air purifier for under $50. “Make sure you get one that’s rated for smoke,” said Wood.

While it sounds simple enough, it took a lot of work. With an immediate need, Wood and the Three Sisters Collective had to step in fast to solve the issue. “It was an emergency and our traditional paths of helping the community because they are governmental they aren’t as agile,” said Wood.

When that next fire hits, she’ll do it again. “That’s kind of what we do is just when there is a need in our communities we try to meet that to the best of our abilities,” said Wood. On top of the 60 air purifiers they built, the group of women also collected donations and were able to purchase an additional 50 air purifiers to give out to the community.

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