How far can smoke travel?
Unfortunately, you had a fire in your home. It could have been a kitchen fire, with its sticky residues because of the animal fats that were burning. Perhaps it was a dryer fire. Or maybe it was a fireplace fire that got a bit out of control, with light soot and ash that seems to get everywhere. Even though the flames were contained to one or two rooms, how far did the smoke travel?
Smoke and soot use the hot air escaping the flames to travel about. Because hot air is much lighter than cool air, it travels up towards the ceiling quickly. Then the air currents will move the smoke anywhere throughout the home as the air currents allow.
Because smoke and soot follow these air currents, they will get into very tiny cracks and crevices; into drawers, closets, rooms, and wall cavities, even though doors are closed and drawers are shut. These areas are not airtight, so it doesn’t take much to push smoke and soot particles into the tiniest of places.
As the air currents get further from the actual fire, they lose some punch and don’t flow as quickly. The soot particles then become too heavy for the air to keep them up, so they land on the closest flat surfaces. Counters, desks, sills, etc are the most common areas for these particles to land.
As to the original question: How far will smoke travel? The answer is quite evident this month, as several days in a row we saw smoke from the California wildfires mask some of our sunshine. That milky haze in the sky was actually smoke that has travelled hundreds of miles on the jet stream. Smoke has even made it to the east coast, where New York City had some smoke from California in their skies.
Smoke damage in your home? Call the cleaning experts at SERVPRO Bedford Park/Burbank at 708-430-3600. We have the proper tools to check for smoke, and know how to clean it once it’s been identified.