Wildfires and PM2.5 Pollution Threaten US Air Quality Progress

The contribution of wildfire to PM2.5 trends in the USA

The air quality in the USA has improved over the years, thanks to public policies. However, there’s been a recent increase in a type of air pollution called PM2.5, partly due to wildfires. Since 2016, wildfires have made the air dirtier in about 75% of US states, undoing 25% of the progress made in cleaning up the air over decades, which is like losing 4 years of improvements. This wildfire pollution isn’t regulated by current laws, and if we don’t do more to address it, it could get worse as the climate warms.

Burke, M., Childs, M.L., de la Cuesta, B. et al. The contribution of wildfire to PM2.5 trends in the USA. Nature (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06522-6


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