Wildfire smoke to blame for up to half of soot pollution in parts of western US: research

Wildfire smoke to blame for up to half of soot pollution in parts of western US: research
© getty:The San Francisco Bay Bridge and city skyline are obscured in orange smoke and haze as they're seen from Treasure Island in San Francisco, California on September 9, 2020.

Wildfire smoke has resulted in as much as half of the soot pollution in parts of the western U.S., according to a study that was published Tuesday. 

Researchers determined that more than half of the concentrations of the pollutant in some areas came from wildfires in recent years and that their smoke made up 25 percent of soot pollution across the entire U.S.

Using satellite-based fire and smoke data, the researchers also determined that pollution from fires had increased substantially over the course of a decade. 

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The amount of area burned by wildfires has been rising, and other studies have linked the increase, at least in part, to climate change. 

Recent research has also linked exposure to various types of pollution to worse COVID-19 outcomes. Experts also told The Hill last year that wildfires that had been occurring could exacerbate the effects of the disease for a variety of reasons.

The new findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America journal. 

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently said that in 2020, the U.S. saw 22 climate and weather-related disasters that caused  more than $1 billion in damage. 

These disasters included the wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington state that burned for weeks, claiming several lives and worsening air quality.