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Fifth National Climate Assessment - Read the Report

Comparing air quality and health impacts from wildfire and prescribed fire

A 2021 report from EPA, USDA-FS, DOI, and NIST compared the air quality and health impacts of smoke from prescribed fire, which is used as a land management tool, with smoke from wildfire. The report found that using prescribed fire is not without risk as it can result in smoke-related air quality and public health impacts—but at a much smaller scale compared to wildfire. The assessment could be informative to multiple levels of government as they engage and plan for future land and fire management activities. The report also contributes to the identification of future research efforts to examine air quality and public health impacts due to smoke from fire.