Climate Change and Health: Wildfire and Smoke

Large wildfires are becoming more frequent and widespread, particularly in the western United States, fueled in part by climate change. The smoke from these fires creates serious health risks regionally and beyond.

Wildfires are a source of particulate matter pollution. Particulates less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) are especially dangerous as they can reach deeply into the lungs and can trigger or worsen health problems such as asthma and heart disease, with emerging evidence linking it to premature births.  High-risk groups include pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, asthmatics, people with serious heart, lung or other medical conditions and anyone who is required to spend long hours outside.