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2023: Incorporating Wildfire Smoke Hazards Into U.S. Wildfire Policy

Wildfires have increased dramatically in recent years, and while more than 90% of wildfire-attributable deaths are due to smoke, less than 1% of wildfire funding goes to mitigating smoke hazards. Scientists believe that some of the focus on flames is due to a lack of precise estimates of smoke deaths. National and state policymakers are remaking wildfire policy right now, and this project is designed to get them the information needed to act, saving lives by strengthening wildfire policy to include smoke. Researchers will use a time‐stratified case‐crossover study to link wildfire‐smoke exposure and mortality, thereby estimating excess deaths attributable to smoke during wildfires nationwide between 2006‐20. This will be the first epidemiological study to directly estimate wildfire‐smoke deaths across the U.S. over many years, and it will also examine wildfire smoke‐related health inequities with geospatial analysis. Throughout the project, researchers will engage with policymakers to accelerate the translation of research to action.

Investigators: Alistair Hayden and Corinna Noel (Veterinary College/Public & Ecosystem Health)

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