Wildfires: Protecting Your Health
|Photo courtesy of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. If you must stay in the area, decrease your outdoor activity and stay indoors as much as possible. This is especially important for children, older adults, smokers and those with heart disease or asthma and other lung diseases. If you breathe smoke and you have symptoms associated with any pre-existing medical conditions, contact your health care provider immediately.
In addition to your physical health, smoke from wildfires can reduce visibility, creating other safety hazards. Be aware of these types of hazards if you are asked to evacuate the area. Your community may have a place for you to go if the smoke is present for a long time.
Related MDH Links:
- Health Hazards of Smoke from Wildfires
- Wildfire Can Damage Private Water Wells
- Consumer Tips For Food Safety After Fires
- Food Safety After a Fire: Safe Food is Good Business
Related External Links:
- Air Quality Index for Minnesota – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Health Risks of Wildfires for Children: Acute Phase (PDF 293KB/6 pages) - University of California/PEHSU/American Academy of Pediatrics
- Environmental Hazards for Children in the Aftermath of Wildfires (PDF: 300KB/9 pages) - University of California/PEHSU/American Academy of Pediatrics
- Wildfire Information (provides statewide fire danger and wildfire information in
Minnesota) – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Minnesota Incident Command System (MNICS) - Minnesota Interagency Fire Center (MIFC)
- Fire Hazard Measurement for Your Rural or Forest Home - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Natural Disasters and Severe Weather: Wildfires - U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials (PDF) - created in cooperation by a wide variety of organizations.
- Wildfires (before, during, and after) - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Wildfires: Response/Recovery, U.S. Department of Labor
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