Fires In California And Colorado Cover The West With Smoke
There are nearly a hundred uncontrolled large fires burning across the western US right now in California Colorado Oregon and other states the fires have forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and the smoke is affecting millions as NPR's Nathan. Ross reports that is especially worrisome during this pandemic. Stephanie Christianson is a pulmonologist or a lung doctor as she puts it who's already on the frontlines of covid nineteen. She's an assistant professor at the University of California San Francisco and over the last few days and week as fires exploded around the bay area filling the air with acrid smoke sheet and some of her colleagues started asking each other. Every apocalypse packers now is it feels kind of like we're. Doctors it wasn't exactly what to expect. Going into this, the smoke from California's fires and others is blanketing most of the western US blurring skylines and creating haze from the west coast to as far east as Kansas and in that smoke is something that Christians, and says is definitely not good to be breathing particularly during a respiratory pandemic an air pollutant called PM two point five. It's this particulate matter which is really really tiny thirty times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. So it's really really small and that means that it can lodge deep into your lungs where Christians says, it can cause A. Whole host of problems that can increase the risk of as exacerbating COPD exacerbations, heart disease issues, and she says potentially cove in nineteen the viruses new enough that most of the research into links between it, an air pollution like smoke are preliminary but Christian says they do know enough to speculate that smoke inhalation could make the virus worse and it's worrying health officials and researchers all across the western US I was initially really worried about wildland firefighters Luke Montrose is an assistant professor of community and Environmental Health at a very smoky Boise State University, and served transition my thought now. To today's the first day of school at Boise State and the first day of classes for a lot of schools K. through twelve in the West in normal times. MONTROSS says during Smoky Fire Seasons schools can keep windows shut but in a year like this closed the windows and potentially increase the concentration of virus that could be spreading around the school because you're trying to reduce the amount of toxic wildfire smoke a situation he says where there's really no good choice. Out NPR news.