Wildfire Smoke Killed More Than 50,000 Californians Prematurely

(VitalNews.org) – More than fifty thousand people have been killed in California prematurely as a result of wildfires over the last decade. Wildfires create smoke that has PM2.5, which includes tiny particles that can embed themselves into the lungs and the bloodstream. These particles have been linked to many different health conditions and premature death.

A study that was published in Science Advances showed that researchers used a model to examine the impacts of these pollutants on people. It looked at the years 2008 through 2018 and showed that over fifty thousand people died a premature death due to inhaling the particulate from wildfires.

The results of these wildfires are responsible for more deaths than were previously imagined. One of the authors of the study, Rachel Connolly, said, “The findings are really a call to action for forest management and climate change mitigation.”

Researchers are just now beginning to understand the effects of the substance, and they have been linked to respiratory illnesses and increased hospitalizations. California is a state that has been constantly affected by wildfires, especially four years ago when more than twenty-five million people were exposed to toxic polluted air from the fires.

Experts have blamed the increase in wildfires on poor fire suppression policies, forest management practices, and landscapes that have continued to get hotter and hotter. Connolly said that people should take action to protect themselves from air pollution, but these results show that forest management could make the biggest positive impact here.

“The importance of wildfire management will only grow in the coming decades as aridification intensifies with climate change and more regions become susceptible to fires,” the authors wrote in the study.

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