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Articles on Smoke

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Sampling wildfire smoke sometimes means sticking a tube out the window of an airplane. Brett Palm/University of Washington

Wildfire smoke changes dramatically as it ages, and that matters for downwind air quality – here’s what we learned flying through smoke plumes

Thousands of chemical compounds in wildfire smoke are interacting with each other and sunlight as the smoke travels. For people downwind, it can become more toxic over time.
A red hazy sunset over Indiana caused by wildfire smoke from the Western U.S. SOPA Images/LightRocket va Getty Images

How can smoke from West Coast fires cause red sunsets in New York?

Last week, much of the Midwest and eastern US experienced hazy skies and red sunsets. The cause was smoke transported from the Western US by the jet stream and spread as far as Boston and even Europe.
The health impact of wildfire exposure depends in part on the fire itself and how much smoke a person breathes in, how often and for how long. AP Photos/Noah Berger

What’s in wildfire smoke, and why is it so bad for your lungs?

Wildfires blanketing several Western cities are creating hazardous health conditions. Don't count on cloth masks to protect your lungs.
An image from the International Space Station captures plumes of smoke from California wildfires on August 4, 2018. NASA

Wildfire smoke is becoming a nationwide health threat

Haze from Northern California wildfires has drifted as far east as Philadelphia. Wildfire smoke contains many potentially toxic substances, so anyone exposed to it should take basic precautions.
Flames and smoke shroud State Route 33 as a wildfire burns in Ventura, California, Dec. 5, 2017. Daniel Dreifuss via AP

Exposure to wildfire smoke: 5 questions answered

Intense wildfires in southern California are triggering air quality alerts. Health experts know surprisingly little about how inhaling smoke affects human health, especially over the long term.

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