Climate change will expose more people to wildfire smoke

Global Warming: News and Research

Climate change will expose more people to wildfire smoke

Postby Wilberforce » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:00 pm

Study: Climate change will expose more people to wildfire smoke
Oct. 24, 2013 |

Study: climate change will expose more people to wildfire smoke.

Climate change will flare up more severe fires, threatening the health of millions of Americans, according to a new report that the Natural Resources Defense Council released today.

So individuals and communities need to take steps to guard against the health risks associated with smoke, the group said, especially the risks from asthma attacks, pneumonia and chronic lung diseases.

“There’s trouble in the wind: What blazes in Texas rarely stays in Texas. Wildfire smoke can pose serious health risks to people hundreds of miles away from the sources of fires,” Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist in NRDC’s Health and Environment Program, said in a release.

“Wildfire smoke already clouds the skies of millions of Americans and because climate change will fuel more wildfires, that danger will rise.”

The report, titled “Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke,” ranked Florida 3rd among states with the most people affected by wildfire smoke conditions for one week or more in 2011. Florida had 11.2 million residents in affected areas.

Texas ranked 1st, with more than 25 million people in areas with wildfire smoke conditions. Illinois ranked 2nd, with 11.9 million residents in affected areas.

NRDC wants policies to combat and adapt to climate change.

“Communities need safeguards against this smoky peril, and our country needs standards to curb the unlimited carbon pollution from power plants that’s driving climate change,” Knowlton said.

They based the study on smoke data from the 2011 wildfire season, one of the worst in recent decades. NRDC examined smoke data from federal weather satellites and data from ground-based air quality monitoring stations.

One key finding: the area affected by smoke is 50 times greater than the area burned.

NRDC found about two-thirds of Americans — nearly 212 million people — lived in counties affected by wildfire smoke in 2011.

Although many states had large wildfires that year, NRDC found that among the top 20 most affected states, six that had no major fires still had to endure more than a week of medium- to high-density smoke conditions in 2011.

“The clear takeaway is that wildfires, smoke and the conditions that increase fire risk are national health concerns that spread well beyond the borders of local fire perimeters, conditions that are only projected to worsen with climate change,” the report says.

Climate change is expected to cause more severe droughts and more extreme, longer-lasting warm seasons, the report says, drying out the vegetation that fuels wildfires.

The report spells out steps individuals can take during heavy smoke periods.

“Families can lessen the health risks from smoke by staying indoors or limiting outside physical activity,” Knowlton said. “You can keep smoke levels low inside the house by closing the windows and running the air conditioner on ‘recirculate.’”

NRDC also called for better monitoring and early-warning systems for the growing health threats to vulnerable groups.

All states should put health protections in their climate adaptation plans, Knowlton said.

“Climate change threatens the health of every American,” Knowlton said. “We have an obligation to them and future generations we cannot shy from.”

Contact Waymer at 321-242-3663 or Follow him on Twitter @JWayEnviro

source ... fire-smoke ... oke-IB.pdf ... 2w4e6.html
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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