American Lung Association Responds to Wildfires, ‘Hazardous’ Air Quality Impacting Health, Lives

In response to multiple mega fires in the U.S. resulting in mass evacuations and maroon or “hazardous” air quality alerts, the American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer issued the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened and alarmed by the extent of the massive wildfires. Our hearts go out to those who have lost their lives and their loved ones and those facing the threat of wildfires, including those residents who have already been evacuated.

“These wildfires pose immediate threats to the safety and lives of hundreds of thousands of residents, including from air quality reaching both ‘very unhealthy’ and ‘hazardous’– purple and maroon on EPA’s Air Quality Index – levels for everyone. Even those not directly in the line of wildfires may also experience worsened air quality as a result of wildfire smoke traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles.

“We encourage everyone, particularly those most vulnerable to wildfire smoke – children, older adults, those with lung disease or heart disease – to monitor local air quality and take steps to protect your health and safety. If health problems arise, contact your physician immediately.

“The American Lung Association encourages everyone to follow guidance from local authorities and evacuate when instructed to do so, keeping precautions around COVID-19 and physical distancing in mind.

“As our nation continues to respond to record-breaking wildfires, we must not only acknowledge the role climate change plays in advancing wildfires and other natural disasters, but also take urgent action to address and mitigate climate change in order to save lives and protect public health.” 

Learn more about protecting your health from wildfire smoke, visit For media interested in speaking with an expert about air quality and wildfires smoke, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.

For more information, contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

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