Every year, nwildfires threaten ecosystems all over the world, resulting in an increase in human health risk. Given the widespread nature of these events it is important for health professionals to learn about the health implications of wildfires. Contribute to "a nation of resilient communities " by educating yourself and others on disaster health topics related to wildfires. NCDMPH has gathered resources for health professionals for all wildfire related events. By providing these resources, the National Center aims to foster resilience through learning. The organization of this content is intended to facilitate self-directed learning as well as provide materials for educators. This is an initial effort and we will continue to add to these resources.
-- Background --
Fires and Wildfires. NLM Disaster Information Management Resource Center
Vegetation Fires. World Health Organization
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center. The Lessons Learned Center (LLC)
Wildfires. National Child Traumatic Stress Network
-- Preparedness and Mitigation --
Fire Safe Seniors Toolkit. CDC, US Fire Administration
Wildfire Safety Outreach Materials. US Fire Administration
Summertime Burn Safety. US Fire Administration
Fire Adapted Communities. Fire Adapted Communities Coalition
Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities: How the fire service, local officials, and the public can work together. U.S. Fire Administration.
Wildfire Emergency Response Plan. Arizona Department of Health Services
Flood after Fire Risk. FloodSmart.gov.
Blake SC, Howard DH, Eiring H, Tarde S. San Diego's area coordinator system: a disaster preparedness model for US Nursing homes. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2012 Dec;6(4):424-7. doi: 10.1001/dmp.2012.65
-- Health Impacts of Wildfires --
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Wildfire-Related Deaths --- Texas. CDC
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Monitoring Health Effects of Wildfires Using the BioSense System --- San Diego County, California. CDC
Kochi I, Loomis J, Champ P, Donovan G. Health and Economic Impact of Wildfires: Literature Review. 2008
Finlay SE, Moffat A, Gazzard R, Baker D, Murray V. Health Impacts of Wildfires. PLoS Curr. 2012 Nov 2;4:e4f959951cce2c. doi: 10.1371/4f959951cce2c
Health Risks of Wildfires for Children - Acute Phase. American Academy of Pediatrics
-- Environmental Health Impacts --
Wildfire Research Confirms Health Hazards of Peat Fire Smoke. Environmental Protection Agency
Fields and Forests in Flames: Vegetation Smoke and Human Health. National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences. Environmental Health Perspectives
Fields and Forests in Flames: Lead and Mercury Emissions from Wildfire Pyrogenic Activity. National Institutes of Environmental Health. Environmental Health Perspectives
Smoke from Agricultural and Forest Fires. AirNow Web Site
Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
-- Psychosocial --
Recovering from the Wildfires. American Psychological Association
Marshall GN, Schell TL, Elliott MN, Rayburn NR, Jaycox LH. Psychiatric disorders among adults seeking emergency disaster assistance after a wildland-urban interface fire. Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Apr;58(4):509-14
Wasiak J, Mahar P, Lee S, Paul E, Spinks A, Pfitzer B, Cleland H, Gabbe B. 12-Month generic health status and psychological distress outcomes following an Australian natural disaster experience. Injury. 2012 Sep 25. doi:pii: S0020-1383(12)00371-3. 10.1016/j.injury.2012.08.060
Papanikolaou V, Adamis D, Mellon RC, Prodromitis G. Psychological distress following wildfires disaster in a rural part of Greece. Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2011;13(1):11-26
-- Health Systems Impacts --
Dohrenwend PB, Le MV, Bush JA, Thomas CF. The impact on emergency department visits for respiratory illness during the southern California wildfires. West J Emerg Med. 2013 Mar;14(2):79-84. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2012.10.6917
Schranz CI, Castillo EM, Vilke GM. The 2007 San Diego Wildfire impact on the Emergency Department of the University of California, San Diego Hospital System. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2010 Sep-Oct;25(5):472-6
Hoyt KS, Gerhart AE. The San Diego County wildfires: perspectives of healthcare providers. Disaster Manag Response. 2004 Apr-Jun;2(2):46-52
Richardson DB, Kumar S. Emergency response to the Canberra bushfires. Med J Aust. 2004 Jul 5;181(1):40-2
-- Evacuation and Sheltering --
Tracking and Reunification of Children in Disasters. National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (NCDMPH)
Evacuating During a Wildfire. Arizona Emergency Information Network
The New Generation Fire Shelter. National Wildfire Coordinating Group
Barnett J, Dennis-Rouse M, Martinez V. Wildfire Disaster leads to Facilities Evacuation. Orthop Nurs. 2009 Jan-Feb;28(1):17-20. doi: 10.1097/01.NOR.0000345849.32424.0a
Learning Objectives & Activities-Wildfires
Wildfires - Ideas for Educators of Health Professionals
Below are ideas for educators who are teaching health professionals and may wish to develop learning content or activities related to health impacts of wildfires. These ideas should be customized based on the learners, their needs, scope of practice, and the educational context.
Options for Learning Objectives:
At the end of the learning activity, the learner will be able to:
Describe how wildfires impact human health, especially in health systems, clinical, behavioral, and public health dimensions, including evacuation and population displacement effects.
State ways in which health professionals can contribute to preparedness for, response to, and recovery from wildfires given their scope of practice.
Critically analyze the multiple role-based expectations of health professionals in wildfire disasters. Major role categories include:
family (significant others)
List environmental health risks associated with wildfires.
Options for Learning Activities:
Walk through the resources [link to Resilience Through Learning page with resources] online during class and discuss their applicability and utility for the learner.
Lead a class discussion about the health and systems impacts of wildfires. Possible discussion questions are:
Describe the top 3 causes of illness and injury associated with wildfires.
What are the public health implications of wildfires?
Are there unique behavioral health considerations for wildfire disasters?
How have population displacements associated with wildfires affected the health of the evacuees and what are the health system challenges in supporting these populations?
Ask learners to respond to the following question, either verbally or in writing: How can you as a health professional, within your scope of practice, contribute to the preparedness for, response to, and recovery from a wildfire?
In the context of a wildfire disaster, consider the following:
What do you expect of yourself?
What does your family (significant others) expect of you?
What does your organization expect of you?
What does your profession expect of you?
What does the community expect of you?
Invite learners to work in small groups to draft a public service announcement for your county on actions citizens should take to reduce injury and death from wildfires.
Invite a member of another response professional group to discuss interprofessional coordination and collaboration necessary in response to a wildfire. Discuss barriers to such interprofessional coordination and collaboration.
Divide the class into groups. Ask group members to list 3 or more actions they would recommend being taken to address the environmental health impacts of wildfires and share these with the full group.
As a class, discuss how different organizations would work together to address health implications if a wildfire were threatening your community. Discuss how the professions and organizations represented by learners in the class would contribute.