Ask the Captain: Does taking off or landing near wildfires damage aircraft engines?

When taking off or landing in an area with active forest fires, 1) does it harm the engines (requiring additional inspection or early maintenance) and 2) can you shut off the fresh air intake to the cabin to avoid breathing hazardous air?

– BR, Portland, Oregon

The engines vann function in the smoke of a forest fire without damage without requiring additional maintenance. 

And no, the bleed air system that brings in outside air into the air conditioning system is not switched off. The need to keep the aircraft pressurized and to have fresh air in the cabin requires that it be left on. Fortunately, the exposure time is short.

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