Smoke inhalation from nearby fire: rule of thumb for risk?

There was a massive fire in an abandoned commercial property not far from my house. It was near enough that we have been able to strongly smell smoke since it happened about 6 hours ago (it was a 4-alarm fire about 500 ft. away).

My wife is pregnant, so we’re sort of on Overly Cautious Toxin Alert Mode, which had us wondering about the fact that we could smell smoke all day.

Two questions:

(1) Is there a rule of thumb for when it’s a bad idea to be inhaling smoke in relatively small quantities? It doesn’t smell stronger than being near a camp fire at the moment, which seems like a good rule of thumb to me, but I’m curious to hear.

(2) Assuming we get out of the house for the remainder of the day, are there any lingering risks from whatever soot has settled inside our not-especially-well-sealed home?


Bump - I would be interested in an answer too.

when there are air quality alerts it is recommended that you stay inside the house with the windows closed and outside unfiltered/untreated ventilation off. under normal conditions you want a certain amount of fresh air into the house each day. the bad effects of being in a sealed house for one day are less than breathing outside polluted air.

Don’t have an answer here, but just to point out an additional obvious thing to worry about that wasn’t already mentioned: For fires in warehouses and such places (as opposed to, say, fires in a pristine virgin forest), you gotta wonder what toxic chemicals you’re being fumigated with, on top of the usual poisons from fire of more “natural” stuff.

I would drive fast, not walk, upwind for a long distance for a while.