Wildfire smoke worse for kids’ health than prescribed burns

(Reuters Health) – Children who are exposed to smoke from wildfires may experience a greater health impact than those exposed to smoke from prescribed controlled burns, according to a small study in northern California.

“Prescribed burns have been done for thousands of years to maintain the health of the forest, but there is public opposition to them due to the smoke exposure,” said lead study author Dr. Mary Prunicki of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“That concern has hindered the Forest Service in doing as many prescribed burns as would be ideal to minimize the wildfires,” Prunicki said in a phone interview.

Previous research has linked wildfire smoke exposure with an increase in asthma attacks and hospitalizations. Children are particularly affected due to their developing immune systems, the authors note in the journal Allergy. Read more.