Wildfires are increasing in severity throughout much of the Western United States, as well as in other parts of the world, raising questions of how workers and community members can best be protected against wildfire smoke inhalation. We have conducted human health risk assessments of wildfire smoke inhalation among the general public, analyzed clients’ real-time air monitoring data to characterize worker exposures, and facilitated the development of risk management plans for clients in the face of extreme wildfire smoke events.
Project Example: Wildfire Data Analysis for Major Distributor
Project Overview: Cardno ChemRisk was asked by an International retail distributor to analyze concentrations of pollutants in outdoor air before, during, and after a wildfire in order to assess potential exposures to delivery workers during and following a wildfire event.
Our Approach: We utilized the client’s own real-time, minute-by-minute air monitoring data at its distribution centers to assess the temporal and spatial trends in air pollutant exposures in the days during and after a real wildfire event. We calculated statistics to estimate workers’ exposures over a full shift, and identified peak exposure concentrations. We also utilized data visualization techniques to illustrate air pollutant concentrations over the course of the wildfire, in comparison to baseline concentrations.
Our Value: Through our efforts, the client was able to develop a deeper understanding of the potential exposures experienced by their outdoor and delivery workers during and after wildfire events. This work further enabled us to assist the client in developing a risk management framework to determine appropriate exposure controls, given air pollutant concentrations.