As Wildfires Increase in Severity, Experts Call for Coordinated Federal Response;

In advance of a wildfire season projected to be among the worst, the American Thoracic Society has released a report that calls for a unified federal response to wildfires that includes investment in research on smoke exposure and forecasting, health impacts of smoke, evaluation of interventions, and a clear and coordinated communication strategy to protect public health.

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Burning the Forest, Not Just the Trees

Wildfires affect both the visible parts of plants and the plant microbiome. Understanding these effects helps scientists mitigate the effects of wildfires. This research examined microbial DNA samples from tissues of young quaking aspen saplings after a prescribed burn. Aspen relies largely on fire to regenerate. This work demonstrates that fire affects the entire plant microbiome, not just nearby soil.

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From Smoky Skies to a Green Horizon: Scientists Convert Fire-Risk Wood into Biofuel

Reliance on petroleum fuels and raging wildfires: Two separate, large-scale challenges that could be addressed by one scientific breakthrough. Researchers from two national laboratories have collaborated to develop a streamlined and efficient process for converting woody plant matter like forest overgrowth and agricultural waste – material that is currently burned either intentionally or unintentionally – into liquid biofuel.

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UCI, Tsinghua U.: California’s 2018 wildfires caused $150 billion in damages

Irvine, Calif., Dec. 7, 2020 — In 2018, California wildfires caused economic losses of nearly $150 billion, or about 0.7 percent of the gross domestic product of the entire United States that year, and a considerable fraction of those costs affected people far from the fires and even outside of the Golden State. For a study published today in Nature Sustainability, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, China’s Tsinghua University and other institutions combined physical, epidemiological and economic models to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of the blazes.

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In fire-prone West, plants need their pollinators — and vice versa

2020 is the worst fire year on record in the United States. In the face of heartbreaking losses, effort and expense, scientists are still grappling with some of the most basic questions about how fire influences interactions between plants and animals in the natural world. A new study grounded in the northern Rockies explores the role of fire in the finely tuned dance between plants and their pollinators.

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Know the risks of investing in forests

Some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke.
Forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes.

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Toxicological Research on E-cigarettes, PFAS, Cannabinoids, Wildfires, and More to Be Presented during the SOT 59th Annual Meeting and ToxExpo

With 80+ Featured and Scientific Sessions and 2,000+ presentations showcasing advances in fundamental and translational sciences and emerging disciplines and technologies, the 59th Annual Meeting and ToxExpo of the Society of Toxicology is the largest forum for toxicological research in the world.

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Burning to understand

Wildfires significantly impact the health of economies in the western United States that are highly dependent on tourism, agriculture, and timber. David Blunck, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Oregon State University, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense to spearhead a $2.1 million study examining the burning behavior of live fuels
in order to better predict and manage wildfires.

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Reducing Wildfire Risks for Better Management and Resource Allocation

As wildfires become deadlier, larger and more expensive, there is strong interest in better risk governance. Managing future wildfire risk requires an interface between human decision processes and knowledge about climate trends related to fire, as well as humans’ abilities to anticipate wildfire potential and mitigation approaches are critical. Several presentations at the 2019 Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Annual Meeting will explore analyses of past fire seasons, projections for the future and approaches for decision making aimed at mitigating risk.

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November Tip Sheet from Cedars-Sinai

Tips for this month include:
• More heart valve patients now are able to choose minimally invasive procedures instead of open heart surgery.
• Our experts tell how to protect your lungs during wildfire season.
• Cedars-Sinai scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Healthcare Equality Index.
• 3D mammograms are becoming more popular and could save more lives.
• Men’s Health experts available to discuss “Movember” topics.
• Flu experts also available

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