How wildfire smoke impacts indoor air quality in campus buildings
Dr. Ran Zhao, Department of Chemistry 

My team is currently working on a project to understand how wildfire smoke impacts indoor air quality in campus buildings. By using home-built air quality sensors, we were able to create an interactive website, from which U of A campus community members can view real-time indoor air quality in their buildings. 

My team is also involved in a Canada-wide network (Biomass Burning in Canada) in which university and governmental scientists are working together to understand and predict the health and climate impact of Canadian wildfires. My group's role in this network is the measurement of pollutants arising from the burning of Canadian boreal forests. 

Effect of short term wildfire exposure on first responders
Drs. Paige Lacy and Subha Moitra, Department of Medicine

We found that short term wildfire exposure in first responders to the Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016 led to measurable changes in the function of small airways that were associated with worsened cough and wheeze for up to 3 months after smoke exposure.

The publication can be found at here.

With first responders spending more and more time exposed to wildfire smoke, this publication has attracted media interest and was covered by the Edmonton Journal

Wildfire smoke triggers emergency visits for children with Asthma
Drs. Anne Hicks and Linn Moore, Department of Pediatrics

Collaborating with Dr. Laleh Behjat at the University of Calgary, our team showed that wildfire smoke triggers emergency visits for children with asthma in Calgary, AB.

See a 10-year video of asthma exacerbations and the associated paper, which shows when wildfire affected the air quality beside children's asthma. In the paper, you can also see how the yearly "September spike" in asthma when kids go back to school was down in 2020, possibly due to pandemic precautions. 

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