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March 4, 2021

Study on health impacts of long-range wildfire smoke finds need for better warnings

Smoke from local wildfires can affect the health of Colorado residents, in addition to smoke from fires in forests as far away as California and the Pacific Northwest.

Researchers at Colorado State University, curious about the health effects from smoke from large wildfires across the Western United States, analyzed six years of hospitalization data and death records for the cities along the Front Range.

They found that wildfire smoke was associated with increased hospitalizations for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and some cardiovascular health outcomes. They also discovered that wildfire smoke was associated with deaths from asthma and cardiovascular disease, but that there was a difference in the effects of smoke from local fires and that from distant ones.

Associate Professor Jeff Pierce, Katelyn O’Dell, Research Scientist Bonne Ford and Associate Professor Emily Fischer are co-authors on the study, “Differential Cardiopulmonary Health Impacts of Local and Long‐Range Transport of Wildfire Smoke.”

Read the full Source article, “Researchers see need for better warnings for Colorado residents about health impacts of long-range wildfire smoke.”

Photo at top: The Cameron Peak and East Troublesome wildfires leave a heavy smoke plume over Fort Collins in October 2020. Credit: CSU Photography