Blazes, intensified by the climate crisis, are reversing decades of gains in cutting air pollution, scientists report

Increasingly ferocious wildfires in the western US are taking a devastating toll on the region’s air quality, with wildfire smoke now accounting for half of all air pollution during the worst wildfire years, according to a new study.

Scientists from Stanford University and UC San Diego have found that toxic plumes of smoke, which can blanket western states for weeks when wildfires are raging, are reversing decades of gains in cutting air pollution. While heat-related deaths have previously been predicted as the worst consequence of the climate crisis, researchers say that air pollution caused by smoke could be just as deadly.

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