Wildfire smoke becoming a somber health danger across America

Wildfire smoke becoming a somber health danger across America

26 October 2013

published by www.pentagonpost.com

USA — The Global Warming and its associated climate changes will further amplify the US wildfires and can aggravate the incidence of respiratory ailments like chronic bronchitis and asthma. The report by an environmental group on Thursday has released a list of how states fared in 2011.

A large part of America, two thirds to be exact reside in counties which are overwhelmed by wildfire smoke two years ago according to an analysis done by the Natural Resource Defense Council. The wildfires produce a lot of soot and suspended particles which can get into the respiratory tract causing allergies, acute bronchitis, pneumonia and even Lung Cancer.

The worst affected was Texas when fires caused medium to high-density smoke lingered at least a week in areas that are home to 25 million people. The analysis was done with data obtained from the weather satellites. The data revealed that most of the smoke came from wildfires but it was not possible to identify which forest fires were intentional and which were accidental.

The state of Illinois recorded no wildfires but was ranked second as its 12 million inhabitants were affected with smoke which had drifted into the county from elsewhere. The rest of the list had the states: Florida, Missouri, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Alabama, Oklahoma and Iowa all in descending order.

22 states had no wildfires in their county limits but still eight counties population had to endure at least one week of medium to high-intensity smoky air. The states include Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Only 18 states and the District of Columbia were lucky and its population did not have to face a week of smoke that year. However, five of them — Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah had acreage burn from wildfires.

Health impacts of the wildfires are severe. The wildfires are increasing the patients who are suffering from different forms of respiratory ailments like pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma etc. The smoke has also been indicted as the cause of premature deaths, hospitalizations, emergency room visits and outpatient visits.

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