Fire season is in full swing once again. Fourteen states are currently battling large wildfires as rivers of smoke flow across the western half of the United States. Among those states, California, notorious for its hot, arid and windy climate, resumes its yearly position as facing the largest, most devastating fires. Over two million acres have burned, incinerating over 4,000 structures, and, according to a recent statement issued by Governor Gavin Newsom, putting more than a quarter of the state’s population in high fire-risk areas.
Many of us are becoming increasingly more intimate with the drier and warmer seasons caused by climate change, and subsequently, more scattered and active fire seasons. As the western U.S. experiences more expansive fires each year, it’s becoming clear that the health implications of these wildfires extend far beyond the burn.