Wildfire Health and Safety Information & Resources

As several wildfires burn in Northern California, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, and New Mexico, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a bulletin on June 27, 2018 on how to protect yourself from the public health impacts from wildfire smoke.

Wildfire smoke can burn eyes, irritate respiratory systems, and is particularly problematic for those who have chronic heart and lung conditions. Pregnant women and infants are also vulnerable to the impacts of wildfire smoke. CDC recommends monitoring local air quality reports via the US Air Quality Index and staying indoors with the air conditioner running, if possible. Common masks sold in hardware stores do not protect against wildfire smoke. For additional information on the health impacts of wildfires and resources, read this article with guest authors from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You can also read more about the health impacts of wildfire smoke from CDC here.

Wildfire Resources for Local Public Health:

This article contains additional information and resources for wildfire preparedness, response, and recovery.

NACCHO events related to wildfires:

  • NACCHO Webinar: Western Wildfires – Keeping Communities from Polluted Air: On May 21 from NACCHO, local health departments, and the EPA conducted a webinar on the role that local health departments play in preparing for and responding to wildfires and the health impacts of wildfire smoke. Recording and slides from the webinare are available on NACCHO’s Climate Change website.
  • NACCHO Annual 2018: EPA will be presenting on wildfire smoke at NACCHO’s annual conference this July. Register for the conference here.


About Katie Dwyer

Katie Schemm Dwyer is a Director in NACCHO's Preparedness Division. Her work focuses on supporting local health departments strengthen public health preparedness systems through governance, coordination and liaison with federal preparedness organizations, policy, and program management.

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