Report: Smoke From Wildfires Poses Health Risks

GROVELAND, CA - AUGUST 25: Flames from the Rim Fire consume trees on August 25, 2013 near Groveland, California. The Rim Fire continues to burn out of control and threatens 4,500 homes outside of Yosemite National Park. Over 2,000 firefighters are battling the blaze that has entered a section of Yosemite National Park and is currently 7 percent contained. 
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Clare Foran
Oct. 24, 2013, 10:48 a.m.

A study re­leased by Nat­ur­al Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil on Thursday in­dic­ates that wild­fire smoke may pose a pub­lic health threat not just to in­di­vidu­als liv­ing in the im­me­di­ate vi­cin­ity of a blaze, but also to people liv­ing down­wind.

To re­duce the po­ten­tial health risks as­so­ci­ated with wild­fire smoke, steps must be taken to cut down on car­bon emis­sions from sta­tion­ary sources such as power plants, said Patrick Kin­ney, pro­fess­or of en­vir­on­ment­al health sci­ences at Columbia Uni­versity’s Mail­man School of Pub­lic Health and dir­ect­or of the Columbia Cli­mate and Health Pro­gram.

“I would like to em­phas­ize that cli­mate change now has emerged as a worsen­ing driver of wild­fire risks,” Kin­ney said in a press call, adding that he be­lieves it is time to get “ser­i­ous about ad­dress­ing the root causes of cli­mate change.”


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