“Wildfire Smoke Is Poisoning California’s Kids. Some Pay a Higher Price”

“FRESNO, Calif. — The fires sweeping across millions of acres in California aren’t just incinerating trees and houses. They’re also filling the lungs of California’s children with smoke, with potentially grave effects over the course of their lives.

The effects are not evenly felt. While California as a whole has seen a steady uptick in smoke days in recent years, counties in the state’s Central Valley, which is already cursed with some of the most polluted air, were particularly hard hit by wildfire smoke this year.

So for a child, it matters where you live. It matters how much foul air you breathe in on days when there are no fires at all. It matters whether your family can afford an air purifier at home or whether they can whisk you away when ash rains down from the sky.”

Somini Sengupta reoirtts fir the New York Times with photographs by Chang W. Lee and graphics by Nadja Popovich November 26, 2020.