Friday, April 7, 2023

By:  News Staff


EUGENE, Ore. — Smoke has been a growing problem during wildfire seasons in western Oregon.

Now, there’s going to be a research center for wildfire smoke at the University of Oregon.

On Thursday, April 6, 2023, Oregon senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced that University of Oregon received $800-thousand from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to launch its Center for Wildfire Smoke Research and Practice.

“Nearly every Oregonian has in some way experienced the growing threat that wildfires pose to our lives, livelihoods, and health,” said Senator Merkley, Chair of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee which funded this grant. “This critical funding for the University of Oregon’s Center for Wildfire Smoke Research and Practice will help to expand our understanding and improve our abilities to mitigate and reduce the harmful effects wildfire smoke has on Oregonians across the state.”

The center is meant to be a hub where researchers can come up with ways to better prepare for smoky conditions during wildfire seasons.

“Every summer, smoke plagues our communities for longer and longer periods of time, harming Oregonians’ health and livelihoods,” Wyden said. “I am proud to have fought to secure funding for further study how communities large and small can mitigate the harmful effects of wildfire smoke.”

The center’s initial research will focus on three key areas:

  1. Community and household planning and preparation: efforts to support community and household adaption to living with wildfire smoke
  2. Smoke communication: examine past smoke risks and protective actions by organizations to better inform future public smoke messaging consistency
  3. Emergency response, planning, and communications effectiveness: evaluate the effectiveness of planning, preparation, and response during smoke events in order to identify future actions

“At the University of Oregon, we are so excited to launch the Center for Wildfire Smoke Research and Practice with the goal of supporting Oregon communities to become more resilient in the face of increasing wildfire smoke,” said Cassandra Moseley, Research Professor and Vice Provost of Academic Operations and Strategy at the University of Oregon, who is helming the new Wildfire Smoke Research and Practice Center. “We will conduct research driven by community needs and support the growing collaborative networks of practitioners and researchers working to improve conditions for vulnerable community members.”