Report Places Arkansas at Risk for Effects From Wildfire Smoke

Oct 24, 2013

Arkansas has been ranked 11th in the nation for health risks associated with wildfire smoke and debris, according to new data from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The nonprofit released a report Thursday showing areas where environmental effects from wildfires have been a problem in recent years. While the wildfire season is over for most of the country, figures place more than 900,000 people in north and north-central Arkansas at risk for a number of health problems, including respiratory infections, cancers and related lung conditions.

The report was developed from multiple satellite images taken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), health statistics and smoke density measurements.

Patrick Kinney, an environmental health sciences professor at Columbia University, says the problem is a result of climate change, which can be contained through several measures.

"By getting serious about the root causes of climate change - that is, by reducing emissions of greenhouse pollutants - we have an opportunity to reduce future fire risks while at the same time gaining powerful benefits in many other powerful health demands," Kinney said.

The full report can be found here at the NRDC's website.