There are health dangers to us all from agency burn smoke, including intentional “managed burns,” prescribed burns and slash-pile burns.
Toxic smoke particles PM1, PM2.5, PM10, Carbon Black and other toxic chemicals can travel deep into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs.
It’s important to remember that, “any woody mass being burned does not really go away”.
The burning mass is simply transformed by heat from one solid form into myriad of other harmful solid and gaseous forms ….. then allowing transfer and spread over wide geographical locations….releasing and transporting harmful carbon and dangerous chemicals into our daily environment, including our atmosphere as greenhouse gases, our rivers lakes and streams and into our lungs and our children’s lungs.
Agency prescribed burns, slash pile burns, and “managed” burns are not natural. They are manmade fires that spew toxic microscopic smoke particles, gases, and heat into the air. The most destructive of these is the “managed” burn – where agency burn managers make the decision to protect structures on the one hand, while growing and steering fire through forest timberland on the other. They steer and grow fire rather than extinguish it. This is called “boxing and burning.”
Every agency burn produces toxic smoke and soot containing harmful greenhouse gases and toxic PM1, PM2.5, PM10, Carbon Black, Phosphorus and often time’s mercury. The particles and chemicals in toxic smoke affects us all, not just those who are categorized as “sensitive.” These microscopic particles and gases enter our lungs (including, children, pets and wildlife) as burn smoke from agency fires and smoldering hangs in our atmosphere, even when it cannot be seen by the naked eye. The harm to humans caused by these toxic particles is well known. However, burn agencies continue to produce massive amounts of these toxic particles and chemicals during agency burn events without regard to health. They often choose to ignite burn piles and prescribed burns in populated neighborhoods, next to homes, recreation sites, and drainage sites leading to streams, rivers, and lakes including Lake Tahoe. They allow managed burns to degrade air quality stretching hundreds of miles. In some cases smoke continues for days, weeks or months subjecting everyone in the immediate area and beyond to the effects of toxic smoke.
Tiny smoke particles, PM1, PM2.5 and Carbon Black (a known carcinogen), can travel deep into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to toxic smoke causes short to long term health effects in all of us, including shortness of breath; eye, nose and throat irritation; and aggravating or worsening medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in PM2.5 exposure with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions and emergency department visits, and increased rates of lung cancer and heart disease leading to death.