Study: Wildfires Caused Spike In Pollution Levels

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, October 9, 2008

Both Northern and Southern California witnessed a devastating wildfire season in 2007 made worse because of drought conditions. 

Gabriele Pfister is a Colorado-based scientist who co-wrote the study. She says blazes that broke out in September of 2007 also caused pollution levels in Northern California to spike above federal air quality standards. 

"At monitoring sites all around the Sacramento area we found that during the time of the fires it was three times more likely to violate the health standards than if the fires would not have happened." 

Pfister says unhealthy air also lingered in parts of El Dorado, Kern, Mariposa and Tulare counties. She says wildfire emissions have a greater impact on ozone levels in rural areas…where pollution is low. Pfister says they’ll also be studying this summer’s wildfires which prompted severe air-quality warnings in late June.