The wildland fire (often called wildland fires) regime is changing. Climate change is affecting temperature and patterns of drought and rainfall in the United States, with direct impacts on wildfire seasonality, frequency, and severity. Warmer springs, longer summer dry seasons, and drier soils and vegetation have lengthened the wildfire season and increased the frequency and size of fires, as has been particularly evident in the Western United States over the past few years. Meanwhile, increased development in the wildland-urban interface has put more people and infrastructure in harm’s way and has affected the air pollution to which people are being exposed. The impact of these fires is not limited to where the fires occur, but is also being felt far afield as smoke (including particulate matter and other constituents) are transported long distances. Moreover, these changes are expected to continue into the future, posing increased risks to human wellbeing and raising questions about how to improve capabilities to cope with air quality and other associated impacts of wildfires—now and in the future. At the same time, experts in atmospheric chemistry, climate, and meteorology are actively studying wildfire and smoke, and developing tools to forecast impacts on air quality.
This virtual workshop will bring together the health and atmospheric chemistry research communities with managers and decision makers to discuss knowledge and needs surrounding how wildfire smoke affects air quality and human health. Interdisciplinary sessions will allow for exploration of opportunities to better bridge these communities in order to advance the science and improve the production and exchange of information in minimizing the impacts of wildfires.