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Forest Fire Smoke is Harming the Planet. Let’s make a change” by City Tech Blogger Veronica Hipo

This article by Naveena Sadasiviam is interesting because it talks about how the wildfire smoke is affecting the health of people and how this smoke is contributing to climate change we have seen often. The wildfire smoke has been spreading because a fire burned through some 80,000 acres in North California and this smoke has affected people lives. Many have difficulties breathing, worsening asthma, are missing work and making less money for their families. Schools have closed their doors because there is abundant of smoke and in effect is a “Spare the Air” alert. People who are affected are usually the young, elderly and people of color and it also depends on where they live. This smoke is not only affecting one region, but traveling to further areas. According to the article, “one study estimates that between 2046 and 2051, wildfire- related particulate matter (PM) of 2.5 levels will likely increase by 160 percent on average if temperatures continue to rise” (Sadasivam).  This is showing that the wildfire smoke is dangerous and if the temperature keeps increasing we will have a worsening result and more people will be affected. Just like the case in the Camp and Woolsey fire in California that  “last year contributed to the premature deaths of as many as 1,400 people. That’s excluding the 88 people who died during the fires” (Sadasiviam). Steps to prevent excess inhalation are wearing masks, having air purifiers in the home, taking daily medications.

The article connects the wildfire smoke and climate change.  “It may make things combust that otherwise wouldn’t, and when that’s put into the air, it can attach on to the particulate matter,” which is saying that as the smoke rises it throws particles into the air and create a dangerous air quality that makes it more difficult to breath. As we create more Greenhouse Gases, we are also contributing to climate change because the greenhouse gases are absorbing long wave energy created by the wildfire smoke. Because of Earth’s rising temperatures from climate change, other forests in other countries will be more prone to becoming hotter and dryer, conditions that promote more fires.

I think climate change is not only affecting a certain area, but is affecting other regions and countries. As we have seen in the news, there are many places where forests are burning and many people believe that this is not a reason to worry and this will not affect the climate. As stated there are some forests that are burning and is not only affecting people, but is also affecting animals. Vast quantities of smoke is bad for our health and people living near the fires. We are all aware that smoke is bad and contributes with climate change.

 

Citation

Sadasivam, N. (2019, November 7). Wildfire smoke is a silent killer – and climate change is making it worse. Retrieved from https://grist.org/article/wildfire-smoke-is-a-silent-killer-and-climate-change-is-making-it-worse/

 

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One Response

  1. This is a very insightful blog about some of the lesser known effects of forest fire smoke. I wasn’t previously aware of the fact that forest fires are also a contributing factor to global climate change. These giant fires are having a massive effect on people’s quality of life especially in California. We saw a record number of forest fires there back in 2018, where there was a combined total of 8,527 fires that burned through an area of around 1,893,913 acres. This blog opened my eyes by showing me that this is not only devastating for the wildlife there, but there are long term lasting consequences that affect the people who live near these areas as well. It is unfortunate to hear that many people have worsening asthma or continued trouble breathing due to these fires. Many people missing work is another unfortunate result of the health issues these fires cause; which is bad for both those people’s families and the businesses in the area as well. Without stable income the family members suffer, and the economy suffers. It seems like everyone’s life is majorly affected because of these fires. In my own blog I also highlighted another one of the economic repercussions the government faced in its efforts to curb these massive fires last year. Millions had to be spent in the fight against these wildfires and the result was still devastating. We seem to be stuck in an endless cycle where climate change causes forest fires, and then these forest fires add to the effects of climate change. Then the cycle repeats itself. The fact that the smoke travels over different regions only means that this effect will be more pronounced. If the wildfire related particle matter continues to increase, we will only have more and more health issues pop up as a result of them and more premature deaths occur as a result of them. This is yet another reason why global climate change needs to be taken so seriously. Many of the affects are not outwardly obvious but will be extremely detrimental all the same. It’s also very interesting to know exactly how global climate change can cause a forest fire. It essentially says that the warmer air makes it so that things that normally wouldn’t combust start to combust. When that is put into the air it can attach to air particles which lowers the quality of the air overall. This is what is affecting the health of the residents surrounding these fires. This also contributes to climate change because the greenhouse gases can absorb the long wave energy produced by the smoke. This causes the earth to become hotter which makes it easier for more things to combust. This is a very clear and concise explanation; I was aware of the link between climate change and forest fires but not any of the reasons behind how they’re connected. I also wasn’t aware of how and why forest fires contributed to climate change. This is just yet another issue we need to take seriously if we ever hope to level off the effect’s climate change will have on our planet. At a glance forest fires seem to be just that, forest fires. But upon doing a little more research we can truly see how much they impact not only the areas they ravage but the entire world. Their contribution to the effects of climate change only causes more forest fires and makes the other negative effects more frequent. We will eventually see more and more floods, droughts, fires and more, as the air quality decreases because of climate change. I hope we can step in and prevent an already dangerous situation from becoming even worse before it is too late to be reversed.

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