Posted in | News | Pollution | Ecology

More People Die From Wildfire Smoke Than From the Fires, Says Expert

Smoke from wildfires in Western Canada has drifted across the border and is prompting air quality alerts across multiple U.S. states this week and into the Memorial Day weekend.

Alistair Hayden, a professor of practice in public and ecosystem health and a former division chief at the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, says many more people die from wildfire smoke than from the fire itself.

Hayden says:

"Many of these wildfire-smoke deaths occur during the wildfire, and additional deaths can occur even years later. These significant impacts, which often occur far from fire-prone areas, upend conventional ideas of who is at risk of wildfire.

"A recent study even calculated that Florida and New York are among the states with the most wildfire-smoke-related deaths, due to long-distance transport of smoke into dense populations. 

"We need additional national policy solutions to this national issue. A good start would be to incorporate smoke impacts across wildfire policy so that critical funding and decision-making information reaches impacted communities and the first responders who protect them. 

"Individuals can protect themselves from wildfire smoke and other air pollution with air cleaners, including low-cost DIY versions called Corsi-Rosenthal Boxes. Communities can protect their residents with resilience hubs that maintain clean indoor air."

Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews.


Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.