This opinion column was submitted by Bernadette Mae Longo, PhD, RN, associate professor emerita of the University of Nevada, Reno.
It’s fire season, a term that is losing its meaning as hotter and drier conditions put us at risk for fires year-round. Every year new records are set for destructive wildfires. Blazes in the west are spewing smoke, leading to gray skies across the Reno-Carson region as well as the Las Vegas metro area — even reaching the eastern United States. The visible thick blanket of smoke and ash across Nevada threatens lung health and can exacerbate respiratory and heart conditions.
Nevada’s cities are among the most polluted for ozone and fine particle pollution (PM). The American Lung Association 2021 “State of the Air” report found Reno ranks 21st for the most polluted cities for short-term PM, worse than last year’s rank as 23rd. Record-breaking temperatures, extreme drought and devastating wildfires have made it increasingly difficult to clean up the air. The impacts of climate change are putting the health of millions at risk.
Read the full article on Reno Gazette Journal