The health effects of wildfire smoke

Worker approaches a blazing wildfire in a forest.

DEOHS wildfire experts are investigating how smoke affects our health and strategies to reduce its impacts

 

DEOHS wildfire smoke experts were featured in a recent webinar hosted by the UW School of Public Health

Wildfires are natural and inevitable in our forestlands. Climate change is making our wildfire seasons longer, hotter and more dangerous.

The UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) has a long history of leading research into the impacts of wildfires on human health.

Through our research and outreach activities, DEOHS faculty and students are building our understanding of how wildfire smoke can damage our health and the best ways to protect people and communities from harm.

Learn about our impact, research and expertise below.

Our impact

picture of wildfire smoke with the words 'special feature' over it

“The risk is real”

Breathing wildfire smoke isn’t just unhealthy—it can be deadly. DEOHS works with partners across the Northwest to get the word out to those most at risk.

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Downtown Seattle in a haze of wildfire smoke with trees in the foreground.

HEPA air cleaners could prevent deaths from wildfire smoke

A wildfire smoke event in 2020 may have led to nearly 100 deaths in Washington, but there are steps we can take now to avert future deaths, new DEOHS research suggests

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Five people (four in N95 masks) pose with cardboard picture frame cutouts saying "#ColorOutSmoke" and "I [heart] MY AIRSHED."

Population health grants boost wildfire and climate research

Three DEOHS teams awarded new pilot grants from UW Population Health Initiative

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DEOHS Professor Elena Austin stands in a parking lot outside a school holding an air monitoring instrument.

Monitoring air quality in schools

Does ultrafine air pollution infiltrate schools near Sea-Tac Airport? DEOHS researchers partner with cities in South King County to find out.

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Three people with face masks on stand in front of a fence with houses in background. Person in middle holds a clipboard and pen, person on right gives a peace sign and is wearing a t-shirt that reads "SERVE LOCAL."

Our most-read stories of 2020

From COVID-19 to wildfire smoke: counting down our top stories from Health & Safety Matters, the DEOHS blog

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Worker approaches a blazing wildfire in a forest.

The health effects of wildfire smoke

DEOHS wildfire experts are investigating how smoke affects our health and strategies to reduce its impacts

LEARN MORE

In the news

Washington urged to prepare for wildfire smoke: Here's how
July 13, 2021 | Patch | Featured: Edmund Y. W. Seto View

Smoke season is coming to Washington. Here’s how to prepare
July 12, 2021 | Seattle Times | Featured: Edmund Y. W. Seto View

The heat wave in the West 'virtually impossible' without climate change
July 7, 2021 | USA Today | Featured: Kristie L. Ebi View

‘We thought it wouldn’t affect us’: heatwave forces climate reckoning in Pacific Northwest
July 3, 2021 | The Guardian | Featured: Jeremy J Hess View

Wildfire smoke: A burning health issue is getting worse
June 20, 2021 | Everett Herald | Featured: DEOHS alumni Annie Doubleday, Kaitlyn Kelly, Graeme Carvlin View