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

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
Three people in hard hats work on a hillside with a small fire burning, one spraying water from a hose.

Living with fire

DEOHS and The Nature Conservancy bring health into future West Coast forest management

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Two forest workers in a forest, one in the foreground cutting a tree trunk with a chainsaw wearing a helmet, ear protection, safety visor, orange vest and gloves.

Virtual training for wildfire prevention

New DEOHS-led project develops VR simulations to protect health and safety of forest workers who fend off wildfires

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In the news

Climate change is already a disaster to health, doctors say
December 2, 2020 | The Verge | Featured: Jeremy J Hess View

Heat is killing more people than ever. Scientists are looking for ways to lower the risk
November 12, 2020 | Science | Featured: June T. Spector View

A new age of fires: UW researchers are helping our region create a path forward—for the health of our forests and all who live here
October 12, 2020 | UW | Featured: Edmund Y. W. Seto View

UW researchers attribute over 200 deaths to September wildfire smoke
October 9, 2020 | UW Daily | Featured: Edmund Y. W. Seto View

During wildfires, West Coast farmworkers forced to put harvest over health
October 6, 2020 | Crosscut | Featured: Maria Blancas, DEOHS staff View