Wildfire Haze

Wildfire Season from West to East

With hazy red skies hitting the East Coast from wildfires, our California researchers have some hot tips for those new to the smoky season. 

Wildfire season is an annual occurrence on the West Coast, typically during the summer and autumn months when dry and windy conditions prevail. While East Coast states are more accustomed to hurricanes and tropical storms, the rising temperatures and changing climate have led to an increased risk of wildfires in the region. As a result, it's crucial for East Coast residents to familiarize themselves with the unique challenges posed by wildfire smoke and shortcuts should not be taken.

From wearing a mask to getting an indoor air filter, you can protect yourself from the harmful particulate matter that will continue to plague cities during the season, Politico's Debra Khan reminds us. Khan's article "The West Coaster's guide to wildfire season" discusses actions being undertaken in California to protect people from the harmful effects of wildfire smoke:

California is also piloting some “clean air centers” in low-income neighborhoods for people who are less likely to have well-insulated homes or the means to buy air filters (although funding for them got cut in this year’s state budget). And for those who have to work outside, California has labor standards for smoke exposure. But there’s no foolproof way of dealing with it.

Khan further discussed the climate impacts of wildfires with University of California researchers and California OEM. 

“Like so many things, when it happens to New York, it becomes real for people,” said Brian Ferguson, a spokesperson for California’s Office of Emergency Services. (He’s a native New Yorker, so it’s OK.) “Our friends and colleagues on the East Coast are learning today what Californians have known for some time, which is that the effects of climate change and the extreme weather whiplash we face don’t just impact the people where the wildfires happen.”

Read the full article from Debra Khan on Politico.com here