The Effect of Wildfires on Air Quality and Public Health
Pan, Aileen; Solongo, Tulga; Xu, Haofeng
In consultation with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), a CIPA Capstone team conducted research on the air quality and public health effects of wildfires. They found a positive association between wildfire smoke and particulate matter 2.5, respiratory morbidity and mortality. This may entail issues with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis and pneumonia. The team also explored the efforts of several states including California, Montana, North Carolina and Texas to mitigate air quality pollutants from wildfires and reduce public exposure to air quality pollutants from wildfires. The team sampled several wildfires and analyzed data, which showed the average change in air quality index (AQI) and PM2.5 were significant in California and Montana. All four states are making efforts to monitor air quality, provide access to air quality and wildfire information, and educate the public to protect themselves from wildfire smoke exposure. The final report also provided information about state policies with promise that may be helpful to bolster or replicate in other states.
Spring 2019 CIPA Capstone Report
research; environmental policy; federal government; public health