"Wildfire Smoke Is Erasing Progress on Clean Air"

"Smoke from wildfires has worsened over the past decade, potentially reversing decades of improvements in Western air quality made under the Clean Air Act, according to research published Thursday from Stanford University.

The new analysis reveals a picture of daily exposure to wildfire smoke in better geographic detail than ever before. Researchers found a 27-fold increase over the past decade in the number of people experiencing an “extreme smoke day,” which is defined as air quality deemed unhealthy for all age groups. In 2020 alone, nearly 25 million people across the contiguous United States were affected by dangerous smoke.

While the growing threats posed by fire have been explored in detail, particularly for populations in the most fire-prone regions, the risks that smoke pollution pose have been stymied by lack of precise data until now. "

Mira Rojanasakul reports for the New York Times September 22, 2022.

Source: NYTimes, 09/23/2022