CHI researchers continue to publish connections between climate, wildfires, and air pollution

Dr. Kate O'Dell and Dr. Susan Anenberg, GWSPH

December 8, 2022


Smoke from wildfires in Oregon in 2020 caused some of the worst air pollution in that area on record. Credit: Rob Schumacher/AFP via Getty

CHI member and Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Dr. Kate O'Dell, and CHI Director and Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, Dr. Susan Anenberg, published a recent paper in Environmental Research Health entitled, "Outside in: the relationship between indoor and outdoor particulate air quality during wildfire smoke events in western US cities." The paper finds that remaining indoors during poor air quality days due to wildfire smoke is an effective strategy to limit harmful exposure but only provides a limited protection on days when air quality is extremely poor, suggesting the need for additional action. 

In 2021, Dr. Kate O'Dell published a paper in GeoHealth entitled, "Estimated Mortality and Morbidity Attributable to Smoke Plumes in the United States: Not Just a Western US Problem." Discovering that while a majority of large-scale wildfires take place in the Western U.S., a majority of death and illness associated with smoke from fires occurs in the Eastern U.S., the publication has garnered extensive media coverage, including quotes from Dr. Kate O'Dell in: