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National Library of Medicine Offers Disaster Information Resources on Wildfires

An extensive list of resources related to wildfires is now available from the Specialized Information Services division at NLM. Learn how to prepare and protect yourself from wildfires, and get information on how the smoke and particulate matter may affect your health.

Highlights from the Enviro-Health Links – Wildfires page:

http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/enviro/californiafires.html

Air Quality and Health Information — Smoke from Fires

Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Officials

The 53-page document from the California Air Resources Board is an excellent resource with consumer-level information about the characteristics of wildfire smoke, adverse health effects, implications for sensitive populations, and strategies for reducing exposure. It also contains good explanations about particulate matter and estimating levels in communities without continuous monitoring and reporting facilities. For a copy of the document, go to: http://www.arb.ca.gov/smp/progdev/pubeduc/wfgv8.pdf

Forest Fires and Respiratory Health Fact Sheet

With the numerous fires burning in western and southwest states, air quality is at hazardous levels in many areas. The American Lung Association urges those with respiratory problems such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis and also those with chronic heart disease to monitor their breathing and exposure to airborne matter.

Some basic tips:

  • If you live close to the fire area, stay indoors if possible
  • Refrain from exercising outdoors, especially if you smell smoke or notice eye or throat irritation
  • Take extra precautions with children, since their lungs are still developing
  • When driving, keep windows and vents closed. Operate the air conditioning to “recirculate” the air.
  • People with respiratory problems and chronic heart disease should be even more vigilant.

Please visit the website here for more information on the impact of smoke from fires for people with respiratory or other health conditions: http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=36064.

AirNow EPA website

Find current and forecast particulate matter AQI (Air Quality Index) information for all states at the AirNow website. The home page shows a map of the daily air quality forecast for the entire United States; users can click on the area of interest for local information: http://www.airnow.gov/.

Air Quality

Brochure: How Smoke from Fires Can Affect Your Health

PDF Brochure: http://www.epa.gov/airnow//smoke/Smoke2003final.pdf

HTML version: http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=smoke.smokecover

California Local Air District Directory

For current information about local smoke conditions, find your local air quality management group here: http://www.arb.ca.gov/capcoa/roster.htm. A clickable map is also available, which is particularly useful since some of the agency names aren’t identifiable by county name. To view the map, go to: http://www.arb.ca.gov/capcoa/dismap.htm.

California Districts

Smoke Impact

More information on how to protect yourself is available at http://www.airquality.org/smokeimpact/. This site includes many helpful resources for local, state and national information about fires and air quality. Each of the California Air Quality Management websites is listed; the agency for Orange County and the urban areas of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties is the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The agency posts up-to-date information about nearby fires and smoke advisories at http://www.aqmd.gov/.

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