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School of Environment and Natural Resources


SENR Seminar Series - Decadal Lessons Learned: The Story of Wildfires, Air Quality, and Environmental Justice

The SENR Seminar Series welcomes Dr. Joseph Wilkins, Assistant Professor at Howard University, who will present, Decadal Lessons Learned: The Story of Wildfires, Air Quality, and Environmental Justice on Thursday, October 5, 2023, starting at 4:10 p.m.

Join via Zoom

Wildfire risk and severity have recently grown substantially due to climate change and other anthropogenic factors such as increasing development at the wildland-urban interface. Existing research has characterized substantial adverse health impacts from exposure to wildfire-associated smoke. Few existing studies have quantified long-term health impacts from wildfires, and none have used a wildfire-specific long-term dose-response coefficient for mortality, which we have now developed. These findings are critical for guiding societal investments for wildfire prevention and suppression. For example, in 2018, ~2 million acres burned in California, led to ~5,000 asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations and ~11,500 premature deaths equating to an economic impact of ~$100 billion, with respect to the EPA Value of a Statistical Life of $8.7 million (2015 dollars).

Recommended reading:
O’Neill, S., Diao, M., Raffuse, S., Al-Hamdan, M., Barik, M., Jia, Y., Wilkins, J., et al. 2021: A Multi-Analysis Approach for Estimating Regional Health Impacts from the 2017 Northern California Wildfires, Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, DOI: 10.1080/10962247.2021.1891994.

Wilkins, J. L., B. de Foy, A. M. Thompson, D. A. Peterson, E. J. Hyer, C. Graves, et al. 2020: Evaluation of stratospheric intrusions and biomass burning plumes on the vertical distribution of tropospheric ozone over the Midwestern U.S. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos.

D’Evelyn, S.M., Jung, J., Alvarado, E., Baumgartner, J., Caligiuri, P., Hagmann, R.K., Wilkins, J.L., et al. Wildfire, smoke exposure, human health, and environmental justice need to be integrated into forest restoration and management.