DENVER (KDVR) — A recent study found Colorado ranks among the top states for wildfire smoke-related deaths.
A study published in the American Thoracic Society compares the impact of wildfire pollution on different states.
This study used estimates for every monitored county and city in the U.S. for the health impacts of outdoor pollution concentrations, using Environmental Protection Agency design values for 2018-2020.
Part of the study compared the states with the highest mortality rates from wildfire smoke in the country. These numbers are the annual estimate.
Colorado made the top 10.
States with highest death tolls from wildfire smoke
- California (1,768)
- Oregon (298)
- Texas (169)
- Washington (165)
- Florida (131)
- Georgia (111)
- Arizona (91)
- Colorado (87)
- Alabama (85)
- North Carolina (74)
The study estimates that Colorado’s annual death rate due to air pollution from wildland fires is a low estimate of 87 excess deaths per year, but it could be higher. It’s estimated that the deaths could be 578 people per year.
These numbers are varied because the middle estimate was unable to determine if these deaths were due to wildfires or other sources.
“Although the megafires are more newsworthy, air quality and health burdens from wildland fires are also driven by the cumulative impacts from the many smaller fires that are burning on any given day in North America,” said Daniel Tong, Ph.D., associate professor at George Mason University and a member of NASA HAQAST.
The study concludes that the country will need more air quality regulations past the Clean Air Act.