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

Woman in hijab and safety glasses pours tan-colored liquid from a large bucket into a large beaker.

Building community resilience to climate change

DEOHS grad student Daaniya Iyaz studies how wildfire smoke impacts kids’ health

Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire Smoke Rule

A study of the Washington state Wildfire Smoke Rule to protect outdoor worker health funded by the UW Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies

Three-part image including photos of a woman holding an air pollution monitor outside, two people in masks and face shields in a lab holding water samples, and firefighters fighting a wildfire.

Our most-read stories of 2021

Collaboration, community health and clean air: counting down our top 10 blog posts of 2021

Two kids bike and one kid walks through flood water with a yellow shuttered building in the background.

Climate change sounds ‘code red’ for health

Climate crisis gravely threatens human health, according to new Lancet Countdown report coauthored by DEOHS researchers

Two-photo collage. Left-hand photo shows Joanne Medina in Army uniform with her husband and their three children standing in front of a cake. Right-hand photo shows Medina seated in a University of Washington t-shirt.

Serving her country through public health

DEOHS MPH student Joanne Medina has spent nearly 10 years promoting environmental health in the US Army

Man with a University of Washington baseball cap on looking out the window of a train.

Tracking air pollution from space

DEOHS postdoctoral fellow Jianzhao Bi honored by International Society of Exposure Science for remote sensing of air pollution


In the news

Where there’s smoke: How wildfire smoke is affecting life outdoors
August 23, 2022 | REI Blog | Featured: Tania M Busch Isaksen View

For the Methow Valley, wildfire smoke has created a 'fifth' season
July 20, 2022 | KUOW | Featured: Joel D. Kaufman, Nicole Errett View

Researchers find common ground in forest and fire management
June 6, 2022 | East Oregonian | Featured: Postdoctoral researcher Savannah D'Evelyn View

As rules are crafted, farmworkers report limited access to breaks, shade on hot days
October 21, 2021 | Salem Statesman-Journal | Featured: Edward Kasner View

Hospitals confront climate change as patients sick from floods and fires crowd ERs
October 1, 2021 | Kaiser Health News | Featured: Jeremy J Hess View