Large forest fires in the western United States have been more frequent in recent years and many have been much more devastating. With a changing climate this is likely to continue or worsen. Because children breathe more air per minute than adults, and have lungs that are still developing, they are especially vulnerable to health effects during wildfires, especially children that are very young or who already have respiratory diseases. Below are resources for further exploring wildfire and air quality data as well as associated health effects.
Resources created by WSPEHSU on Wildfire Smoke
NEW! A Story of Health: Sofia’s Story
Check out our new multimedia e-book chapter on wildfire. Get CE credit while you learn about wildfire smoke exposures and how to prepare your patients and your office.
Infographics on Wildfire Smoke:
Short Informational Documents on Wildfire Smoke:
Scientific Paper by WSPEHSU on Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke in Children:
WSPEHSU staff (Stephanie Holm, MD, MPH; Mark Miller, MD, MPH; and John Balmes, MD) are authors of Health effects of wildfire smoke in children and public health tools: a narrative review, a scientific paper on wildfire smoke and children’s health published by the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology.
WSPEHSU’s Dr. Stephanie Holm is interviewed on Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke in Children:
Wildfire Smoke and Children’s Health NIEHS Podcast
Dr. Stephanie Holm is interviewed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) on children’s health risks from wildfire smoke exposure where she offers advice to parents on how to keep kids safe during a wildfire event. Listen here!
En español – Recursos creados por WSPEHSU sobre el humo de incedios forestales:
Short informational video on what you can do to reduce wildfire smoke exposure for kids.
Breve video informativo sobre lo que puede hacer para reducir la exposición de los niños al humo de incendios forestales.
Other Helpful Resources:
- Washington Children and Youth Activities Guide for Air Quality (PDF) – Guide on air pollution activity from the State of Washington, Department of Health
- DIY Box Fan Air Cleaner (PDF) – Handout from Chemical Insights on how to setup your very own Box Fan Air Cleaner.
- Impacts of Air Pollution on Brain Health (PDF) – Infographic from USC Environmental Health Centers
- Protect Family Mental Health During Wildfires (YouTube Video) – Dr. Petra Steinbuchel, Director of the University of California-San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospitals Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Portal, shares information on what you can do to protect your family’s mental health during wildfires and other stressful events.
- Proteja la salud mental de la familia durante los incendios forestales (Video de YouTube) – Dra. Petra Steinbuchel, directora del Programa de Psiquiatría para Niños y Adolescentes en el Hospital de Niños UCSF Benioff, comparte información sobre lo que puede hacer para proteger la salud mental de su familia durante incendios forestales y otros eventos estresantes.
- Environmental Hazards for Children in the Aftermath of Wildfires (for Health Professionals) (pdf) – Factsheet from the National PEHSU
- Health Risks of Wildfires for Children (for Health Professionals) – Acute Phase (pdf) – Factsheet from the National PEHSU
- Be Smoke Ready: Know Where to Go for Air Quality Info
US EPA short video on where to get information on air quality during a wildfire smoke event.
- Be Smoke Ready: Know the Color of the Air Quality Index (AQI)
US EPA short video on reading and understanding the air quality index during a wildfire smoke event.
- Wildfire Preparedness for Schools
A booklet on wildfire preparedness for schools developed by the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center.
- Air Cleaning Devices for the Home
Information on air cleaning devices developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
- Indoor Air Filtration
Wildfire smoke fact sheet on indoor air filtration.
- Wildfires and COVID-19
Guidelines from the CDC on how to prepare for wildfires during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- COVID-19, Wildfires, and Indoor Air Quality EPA Guidelines
Public health guidance for sheltering from wildfires in cleaner air spaces during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
US National and local maps of current air quality data from the US EPA sensors
- US EPA Smoke Ready Toolbox for Wildfires
US EPA page of resources for learning about wildfires and the health effects of smoke exposure
- Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Professionals
A fact sheet for public health professionals, written by a collaboration of multiple agencies, including the US EPA, CDC, US Forest Service (last revised in 2016)
- Wildfire Factsheet
A brief fact sheet for families, written by physicians with the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and US EPA. It includes recommendations on preparing for and protecting your family from the health effects of wildfires.
- Air Quality Information: US EPA SmokeSense App
A free app that allows you to participate in a research study. The app collects data anonymously from users to help scientists at the US EPA learn more about the health effects that users are experiencing. There are also educational components where you can learn about wildfires and health effects.
- Aftermath of Wildfires Fact Sheet
A longer fact sheet for families with more detail on specific hazards and suggestions for clean-up efforts following fires. This was also written by physicians with the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units.
- Find certified HEPA air cleaning devices
A list of commercially available air cleaning devices that have been certified by the California Air Resources Board, part of the California EPA
- Talking to Children about Wildfires: National Association for School Psychologists
A page describing strategies for parents, teachers and schools to help children cope with the stress associated with wildfires
- Smoke and Your Family’s Health-English
A simple fact sheet for families on the health effeccts of wildfire smoke and steps you can take to protect your children
- El humo y la salud de su familia
Una hoja informativa simple para las familias sobre los efectos en la salud del humo de incendios forestales y los pasos que puede tomar para proteger a sus hijos
Recursos en español:
- El humo de los incendios forestales y el COVID-19
Las pautas del CDC sobre cómo prepararse para los incendios forestales durante la pandemia de COVID-19.