Wildfire Smoke

Wildfires have been increasing globally over the past decade, with recent memorable wildfire seasons in Australia and the western United States. The recent increase in wildfire activity can be linked to climate change, which has brought with it heat waves, increased wind, and a drier forest; additionally, wildfires further contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases and particulate matter which accelerate climate change cycles (1, 2).

In BC, the past decade brought an era of unprecedented wildfire severity, and B.C. residents have intermittently experienced some of the world’s worst air quality as a result (3, 4). Wildfires are projected to continue and likely worsen into the future. Exposure to wildfire smoke has negative impacts of health, especially in those living with lung disease, cardiovascular disease, older adults, those who are pregnant, and children (5-7). Thus, as these exposures to wildfire smoke continue to rise, so do the short- and long-term effects, such that policy, public education, and protection from the smoke all become increasingly important.

Wildfires have been increasing globally over the past decade

LAH engages and uses an integrative knowledge translation approach to bring together those with lived experience, scientists, policy makers, and other decision makers to enhance a BC-based knowledge base and action plan for wildfire smoke that is data-driven, intervention-focused, equitable, and attentive to social determinants of health.