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Crosscurrents

What are the long-term health effects of wildfire smoke?

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Ninna Gaensler-Debs
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The wreckage of the Fountainhead Hilton in Santa Rosa, looking over the burned out homes in Journey’s End Mobile Home park";

The destructive wildfires that raged through Northern California over the last couple weeks burned close to 250,000 acres of land, forced 100,000 people to evacuate their homes, and tragically took the lives of 42 people.

Air quality became a major concern for people not just near the flames, but up to 100 miles away. Now questions remain about the long-term health effects of all that smoke and ash.

KALW’S Jen Chien brought some of those questions to Dr. Robert Blount, an assistant professor of pulmonary medicine at UCSF. As a lung specialist, his research focus is on air pollution health effects.

"The good news is that a short exposure such as the one we encountered here in the Bay Area, which is ranging from one to two weeks, is not thought to carry with it long-term consequences."

Click the audio player above to listen to the full story. 

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CrosscurrentsNorth Bay fires