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Smoke, Health Effects From California Fires Travel Across the Country

“Fine particulate matter and ozone from wildfire smoke are associated with heart and lung diseases, compromised immune systems and even vulnerability to Covid-19.”

“Record setting conflagrations in California and Colorado have smothered residents of the two states with choking, stinging smoke. But the impact of that smoke is also being felt hundreds, even thousands, of miles away, and the health impacts may last for years after the flames subside.

If the current fire weather trends continue, said Pete Lahm, a smoke specialist for the U.S. Forest Service, “it's gonna be a hellacious level of smoke out there for a lot of people.”

Smoke from the current fires has blanketed much of the United States, spreading all the way to the East Coast, although not always falling to the ground level where people can inhale it. Colorado has four large wildfires of its own burning, including one on the verge of becoming the state's largest in history. But much of the smoke around Denver last weekend was from the fires in California, said Colorado state air quality meteorologist Scott Landes.”

Michael Kodas and Evelyn Nieves report for InsideClimate News August 27, 2020.