Wildfire Smoke Safety

wildfire in forest

What is wildfire smoke?

Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of gases. As a wildfire burns, different compounds are released in the smoke, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter (PM). The toxicity of wildfire smoke can change very quickly depending on factors in the wildfire environment, such as weather, fire behavior, and the type of vegetation burning. Because of this, wildfire smoke exposure can be hazardous for anyone, including outdoor workers. 

How can wildfire smoke affect an outdoor worker's health?

Outdoor workers in the Pacific Northwest can have different individual risk factors such as age and health conditions (e.g., pre-existing heart or lung disease) that make them more likely to be affected by wildfire smoke. Some health effects known or suspected to be caused by wildfire smoke include:

  • Eye irritation, sore throat, wheeze, and cough,
  • Asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia,
  • Cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) outcomes, and 
  • Adverse birth outcomes

Recent PNASH studies have explored how we can better understand the burden, need, and impact of wildfire smoke on agricultural workers:

The resources below are designed to help employers and workers practice wildfire smoke safety.

Employer Checklists


WA Employer Checklist

English Spanish


OR Employer Checklist

English Spanish

Workplace Requirements

Recommended resources for wildfire smoke safety

Northwest regional resources



WA Smoke Blog
WA Dept. of Health
WA Air Quality Monitoring Map
WA Air Quality Advisor (WAQA)
WA Dept. of Labor
WA Rulemaking


OR Smoke Blog 
OR Health Authority
OR Air Quality Monitoring Map
OR Dept of Labor
OR Rulemaking


ID Smoke Blog
ID Dept. of Health & Welfare
ID Air Quality Monitoring Map
ID Department of Environmental Quality


AK Fire Info
AK Dept. of Health & Social Services
AK Air Quality Monitoring
AK Wildfire Smoke
AK Wildfire Smoke Particulate Matter Information

Cal/OSHA Worker Safety and Health in Wildfire Regions

Additional resources for wildfire smoke preparedness

PNASH Resources

smoke study image

2018 Smoke Study

This student-led research study showed that farmworkers had little or no information about how to protect themselves from wildfire smoke.

PNASH Research