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Last Updated: February 20, 2019


Air Quality: Wildfires

Image: Property of UNC CEHS COEC

Big Idea: Wildfires can have harmful effects on people with asthma both near and far.

Talking Points:

  • Wildfires are becoming a more common source of particulate matter, which makes it important for people with asthma to understand that they don’t need to live close to a wildfire to be harmed by it.
  • In addition, people living and working near wildfires often wait until they see smoke to react.
  • This map shows the extent of air pollution associated with a fire that started in a state park near Lake Lure, NC in late 2016. The fire spread quickly and forced evacuations of many homes and businesses. Poor air quality stretched as far as 445 miles away from the fire.

NC Forest Service
Peden, David, “Air Pollution and Health Effects” (chapter 4) in Air Pollution and Asthma. 2015.
Rappold et al, 2017. Community Vulnerability to Health Impacts of Wildland Fire Smoke Exposure.
USGS GeoMac website
Charlotte Observer, North Carolina Wildfire Map

Categories: Air Quality