Air Quality Information

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.

wild fire burning trees

Photo Credit: U.S. Forest Service

Helpful Resources:

  • AirNow
    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