Smoke from wildfires can be worse than air pollution

An explainer from Reuters

Laboratory experiments have shown that a given amount of wildfire smoke causes more inflammation and tissue damage than the same amount of air pollution, said Dr. Kent Pinkerton, Director of the Center for Health and the Environment at the University of California, Davis...

[He continued that] Wildfires "are burning not only vegetative materials and trees but also cities, completely destroying vehicles and buildings and their contents," ...

Wildfire smoke has been shown to lead to a higher number of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiac arrests within people who have been exposed. Additionally, when there is significant wildfire smoke in an area, there is an increase in emergency room visits for respiratory conditions and you can see a correlation to weakened immune defenses within those exposed. 

"Repeated exposure, summer after summer after summer, is more likely to cause diseases, but it is hard to make predictions because it is hard to say how many fires people will be exposed to, how long the fires will burn, or what the smoke will contain," said Keith Bein of the Center for Health and Environment at UC Davis.

UC Davis has been following those affected by the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County to better understand the health effects. Read the full Reuter's Explainer on wildfire smoke health effects by Nancy Lapid here