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Project ID: 14-1-04-5

Year: 2014

Date Started: 09/01/2014

Ending Date:  04/01/2018

Title: Health effects from wildfire air pollution: a spatiotemporal modeling approach

Project Proposal Abstract: The frequency and severity of wildland fires are projected to increase in many parts of the world due to alterations of temperature and precipitation patterns related to climate change, making an understanding of the population health impacts from exposure to air pollution from wildland fires paramount. Although increasing evidence of respiratory health effects from exposure to particulate matter (PM) from wildland fires exists, there is conflicting evidence of whether there are mortality or cardiovascular morbidity effects, despite clear evidence of these effects from ambient PM. Our study has three main areas of significance for understanding the public health impacts that are associated with wildland fire smoke exposure. Firstly, we will use cutting-edge statistical models to develop spatiotemporal estimates of population exposure to PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in aerodynamic diameter) and ozone from the 2008 northern California wildfires. These models combine information from globally available datasets such as chemical transport models, satellite products of atmospheric composition, meteorological data, and other relevant data sets. Spatiotemporal exposure estimates can account for variability in air pollution exposures on small spatial and temporal time scales, which may help minimize exposure misclassification from spatial and temporal averaging of exposure and lead to more accurate estimation of health effects from wildland fires. Once validated, these models can be used in locations with few or no monitoring stations, thereby allowing analysis of the health effects of wildland fire smoke in previously unstudied populations. Secondly, we will fill a knowledge gap by assessing the health impacts of wildland fire-related ozone exposure. To date, only two studies have investigated the health effects of wildland fire-related ozone exposure, despite many studies documenting an increase in ozone from many wildfires and the large literature on the health effects from ambient ozone. We will estimate the effects of wildfire ozone and PM2.5 on cardiorespiratory hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and mortality. Finally, we will perform analyses to provide essential information for public health planning to prevent adverse health effects from future wildland fires. Only a few studies have identified vulnerable populations for wildfires. With the limited information on the health effects from fires, identification of vulnerable populations can provide important information for public health agencies targeting messages and interventions during future wildland fire events. Also, there is little empirical evidence of the health benefits of public health interventions from wildland fires. We will address this limitation by estimating exposure to various counterfactual situations of such interventions such as population evacuation when air quality reaches levels deemed hazardous based on the Air Quality Index and estimate the health benefits to the general population during our case studies had these been employed during the fires compared to the true experience that they were not.

Principal Investigator: Michael LB Jerrett PhD

Agency/Organization: University of California-Berkeley

Branch or Dept: School of Public Health

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Noam Pines

University of California-Berkeley

Sponsored Projects Office

Budget Contact

Noam Pines

University of California-Berkeley

Sponsored Projects Office

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network









Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
  ID Type Title
view or print   3625 Journal Article Environmental Science and Technology

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