The wildfires in California and across the west coast were devastating in many ways. Millions of acres burned. Scientists are now looking at air pollution and smoke’s effect on kids in areas affected by the fire.

Source: CBS News/Youtube

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Kids that breathe in smoke are affected in many ways. Families that cannot escape the smoke, get air purifiers at home or suffer from asthma are especially at risk. Dr. Kari Nadeau, a professor of medicine at Stanford, told the New York Times that the effects from smoke could be long-lasting. “It could,” she said, “have irreversible consequences.”

The smoke and pollution are associated with changes in immune cells in children. An estimated 7.6 million kids are already exposed to wildfire smoke. As extreme weather continues, that number will grow. “This is a problem that’s not going to go away,” Nadeau said. “We are going to see these very extreme weather conditions, and we should be prepared.”

Many areas of California already have poor air quality. The wildfire smoke just exacerbates an existing problem. Patricio Gonzalez, a seventh-grader in California’s Fresno Valley told the Times, “Everything about this area screams bad air quality,” Patricio said. “If you had a child with asthma or any person in your household with asthma and you wanted to move into this area, it’s not a good idea. I don’t recommend it.”

So far in 2020, at least 8,000 fire incidents have been reported by Cal Fire. 4 million acres, a record, have burned in the fires. Read more about the wildfires in One Green Planet, including the Silverado and Colorado fires and animals in Washington State affected by fires in the area. And read more about the dangers of air pollution and studies in Mexico City showing how kids are affected.

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