Senator Merkley introduces wildfire smoke mitigation legislation

Senator Merkley introduces wildfire smoke mitigation legislation


By:  Karen Richards

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley has introduced two bills intended to mitigate the effects of wildfire smoke. Today, the Smoke-Ready Communities Act and the Smoke Planning and Research Act received a hearing in front of the Environment and Public Works committee.

Dr. Cassandra Moseley, a U of O professor in the Institute for a Sustainable Environment, spoke to the committee, saying “Wildfire smoke is rapidly increasing public health risk, affecting not only rural communities that are located near these fires, but increasingly in major urban centers hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Households and individuals need to be prepared to act quickly when smoke arrives, and yet many lack the information about the practical steps they can take to keep themselves safe.”

Moseley identified five ways the bills address public health risk. Among them were looking into the root causes of wildfires, improving smoke monitoring and forecasting, and creating clean air shelters.