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Wildfires having devastating effect on air quality in western US | The Guardian

Energy & Environment News | Jan 20 2021
Smoke from widlfires shrouds the town of West Linn, Oregon, on 10 September 2020. Photograph: Christian Gallagher/AP

The Guardian highlights recent research by CEGA affiliated professor Marshall Burke, which found that recent wildfires in the Western United States are reversing years of improvements in air quality:

“Increasingly ferocious wildfires in the western US are taking a devastating toll on the region’s air quality, with wildfire smoke now accounting for half of all air pollution during the worst wildfire years, according to a new study.

Scientists from Stanford University and the University of California, San Diego, found that toxic plumes of smoke, which can blanket western states for weeks when wildfires are raging, are reversing decades of gains in cutting air pollution. While heat-related deaths have previously been predicted as the worst consequence of the climate crisis, researchers say that air pollution caused by smoke could be just as deadly.

‘For a lot of people in this country wildfires are going to be the way they experience climate change,’ said Marshall Burke, an associate professor of earth science at Stanford and one of the study’s authors. ‘The contribution of wildfires to poor air quality has roughly doubled in the last 15 years in the west.'”

Source: Wildfires having devastating effect on air quality in western US, study finds

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