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Boise State continues regional symposium to address ongoing problems from toxic wildfire smoke

Wildfires annually blanket the West Coast and Rocky Mountain region with toxic smoke. To help address the ongoing problems created by wildfires in the region, Boise State is hosting the second annual Rocky Mountain Regional Wildfire Smoke Symposium virtually on Nov. 12.

The inaugural symposium last year covered both community and occupational health impacts stemming from wildfire smoke exposure. The meeting garnered attendance from over 130 registrants, speakers and panelists. These attendees represented over 40 agencies and institutions from 12 different U.S. states. A highlight from the meeting was the wildland firefighter panel discussion where attendees heard directly from those with boots on the ground about their experience with smoke and its impact on health. One major takeaway from the meeting was that researchers should engage in solutions-based approaches and not just identify health-related issues.

This year’s symposium will be structured as a workshop that will cover key public health-related topics relevant to wildfire smoke. The agenda, speakers, workshop titles and suggested readings are available on the event webpage. The overall goal of this meeting is for the attendees to actively engage with the selected key topics in breakout sessions where they can discuss challenges and opportunities.

Luke Montrose
Luke Montrose, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health and Population Science

“Wildfire smoke knows no boundaries and does not stop at state lines,” said Luke Montrose, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health and Population Science. “Satellite images show smoke travels from California all the way to New York. Western fires are getting larger and more frequent, meaning we will continue to be impacted by smoke and yet we don’t completely understand what this chronic smoke exposure means for our health or how we can limit its impact.”

Registration is open now and costs $50. Stipends are available to students and those who are interested in participating but cannot afford the registration fee. To learn more about available stipends, please email Montrose at lukemontrose@boisestate.edu.

This year’s schedule and list of speakers are also available now.