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Health Impacts of Wildfire Smoke on Firefighters

The unhealthy or hazardous air quality is concerning for many. But while most of us wait for the wind to clear the air, firefighters are deployed again and again to the smokiest areas. And it could be having a real health impact.

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 9:06 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- There are 5,400 firefighters working on the wildfires in Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Siskiyou Counties as of July 24, 2018.  As they make progress, there is hope the air quality in southern Oregon will improve.   But as those crews are eventually released from the local incidents, they often move to another wildfire - in an area that's just as smoky.  Summer after summer of fighting wildfires brings up concerns about the heath impacts of long-term exposure to wildfire smoke.  

There is actually limited research on the long-term health effects of wildfire smoke exposure.  One study by Timothy E. Reinhardt and Roger D. Ottmar in 2004  broke down the elements within wildland smoke that cause problems.   They concluded that wildland firefighters can have an increased risk of death from lung cancer and heart disease. 

Another study done in 2017 by Firescience.gov and the Joint Fire Science Program basically confirms that elements with the wildland fire smoke can cause problems.  Specifically, carbon monoxide is a concern.  When you're exposed to it, it reduces how much oxygen your blood can carry.  They conclude that long-term, continuous exposure can really add up.  

CLICK HERE to read the entire study about firefighter health risks and concerns. 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 155315

Reported Deaths: 2208
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31853528
Washington21170212
Marion18416285
Clackamas13357175
Lane10224126
Jackson8377112
Umatilla765182
Deschutes594659
Yamhill377364
Linn358656
Malheur335058
Polk305342
Klamath278955
Douglas246354
Josephine233750
Benton233516
Jefferson195528
Coos148219
Union128419
Columbia126121
Wasco122126
Lincoln113120
Hood River106829
Morrow104714
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6567
Curry4266
Tillamook4142
Lake3756
Harney2736
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

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Cases: 3563578

Reported Deaths: 51953
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Los Angeles119089421328
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2862912816
Orange2610223904
San Diego2596413271
Santa Clara1104221777
Kern102627826
Fresno952021443
Sacramento931801472
Alameda804961241
Ventura77534844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62164674
Stanislaus56024946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38922515
San Francisco34213410
Santa Barbara31763409
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28063298
Imperial26888591
Kings21951218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15436209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12816185
Shasta10972174
Butte10941160
El Dorado9095100
Napa901469
Sutter884597
San Benito575959
Yuba573336
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada395274
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador345741
Humboldt318033
Lake315341
Glenn222023
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
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Alpine810
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