Wildfire Smoke Epidemiology and Intervention Research

Wildfires are increasing in frequency and severity across the western United States, and associated smoke events are introducing new public health challenges in both urban and rural communities. In 2018, CEER  convened a  symposium of regional stakeholders to share lessons learned from the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons, and to foster academic-practice partnerships to address existing challenges related to wildfire smoke and health in Washington State. Practitioners, researchers, and students engaged in ‘World Cafe’ discussions to identify research priorities to address critical wildfire smoke public health challenges. Since the symposium, the CEER team has been working with public health practice partners to address the research priorities.

Risk Communication:

Our work has explored the content of risk communication materials, resident risk perceptions, and culturally-appropriate and preferred modes of wildfire smoke risk communication. We have conducted content analysis of governmental communications and resident surveys regarding risk perceptions and communication preferences among Methow Valley residents. With the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, we are working to understand how tribal and non-tribal communities receive information about smoke exposure. We have also worked with state and local public health agencies on the development of risk communication materials and strategies, and frequently respond to media requests for information on wildfire smoke health risks.




We continue to work with public health practice partners to evaluate a variety of wildfire smoke interventions, including the effectiveness of box fan filters, N95 masks, and associated distribution programs. We have conducted interviews and focus groups with Methow Valley residents and service providers to identify interventions that could be used to mitigate impacts of prolonged wildfire smoke events.


Related Publications:

  • Doubleday A, Choe Y, Busch Isaksen TM, Errett NA. Urban Bike and Pedestrian Activity Impacts from Wildfire Smoke Events in Seattle, WA. Accepted: Journal of Transport and Health.
  • Durkin A, Gonzalez R, Busch Isaksen T, Walker E, Errett NA. Establishing a Community Air Monitoring Network in a Wildfire Smoke Prone Rural Community: Motivations, Experiences, Challenges, and Ideas of Clean Air Methow’s Clean Air Ambassadors. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8393; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228393
  • VanDeventer D, Marcaux J, Doubleday A, Errett NA, Busch Isaksen TM. Wildfire Smoke Risk Communication Efficacy: A Content Analysis to Summarize Washington State’s 2018 Statewide Smoke Event Public Health Messaging. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2020 Apr 17. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000001151. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Errett NA, Roop HA, Pendergrast C, Kramer B, Doubleday A, Tran KA, Busch Isaksen T. Building a Practice-based Research Agenda for Wildfire Smoke and Health: A Report of the 2018 Washington Wildfire Smoke Stakeholder Synthesis Symposium. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health. 2019, 16(13), 2398; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132398
  • Pendergrast C, Errett NA, Roop HA, Doubleday A*, Kramer B*, Anh Tran K**, and Busch Isaksen T. University of Washington Wildfire Smoke Risk Communication Stakeholder Synthesis Symposium World Café Discussion Summary Report. 2019. A report prepared by the University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, Seattle, WA.