PORTLAND, Ore. -- Across the West, Americans are trying to survive record-breaking wildfires. Given the unprecedented scale of the damage, those threatened by the fires are not sure what they should -- or should not -- be doing right now to stay safe, and many people have been turning to Environment America and its state affiliates for answers. Our organizations are working hard to both keep the public apprised and to push our federal and state governments to take action to mitigate climate change to prevent these devastating fires from becoming the new normal.
Environment America experts available for interviews:
Dan Jacobson, firstname.lastname@example.org, is the state director for Environment California. Dan drives the strategy development and execution of Environment California’s campaigns and lobbying in the California state Capitol. He has successfully advocated for the passage of dozens of bills into law, including measures to ban toxic chemicals, bring 1 million solar roofs to California, and commit the state to divest from coal. He ran the campaign for SB 100, California’s law setting a goal of 100% clean energy by 2045. Dan was named one of Capitol Weekly’s “Top 100 Lobbyists” in California in 2008.
Andrea McGimsey, email@example.com, is the senior director of global warming solutions for Environment America. She directs our work to go fossil fuel-free, promote carbon-free transportation, reduce power plant pollution, and more. She has co-authored several research reports, including Climate Solutions from Day One and From Pollution to Solutions. Her current efforts include defending the Clean Air Act and building bipartisan support for climate legislation in Congress. Andrea is a former local elected official in Loudoun County, Va., and she has appeared on camera on CBS News and other outlets. Andrea has conducted national radio tours on climate solutions and has been quoted frequently by print media including The Washington Post.
Celeste Meiffren-Swango, firstname.lastname@example.org, is the state director for Environment Oregon. Celeste develops and runs campaigns to win real results for Oregon's environment. She has worked on issues ranging from preventing plastic pollution, stopping global warming, defending clean water, and protecting our beautiful places. Celeste's organizing has helped to reduce kids' exposure to lead in drinking water at childcare facilities in Oregon, encourage transportation electrification, ban single-use plastic grocery bags, defend our bedrock environmental laws and more. She is also the author of the children's book, Myrtle the Turtle, empowering kids to prevent plastic pollution.
State resource lists:
To help, each state has compiled lists that offer advice on everything from signing up for emergency alerts to road conditions and more.
Here are those lists for each Western state:
- Arizona: https://wildlandfire.az.gov/
- California: https://www.fire.ca.gov/
- Colorado: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dhsem/wildfire
- Idaho: https://idfg.idaho.gov/fire
- Montana: https://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/fires.shtmL
- Nevada: https://dem.nv.gov/Fire_Information/
- New Mexico: https://nmfireinfo.com/
- Oregon: https://wildfire.oregon.gov
- Utah: https://utahfireinfo.gov/
- Washington: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/wildfires
- Wyoming: https://wsfd.wyo.gov/fire-management/fire-information-updates/current-fires
Poor air quality is a big threat to public health. According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality:
"Smoke is made up of primarily small particles, gases and water vapor, with trace amounts of hazardous air pollutants. The most harmful are the small particles, or particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (100 micrometers is the diameter of a human hair). These particles can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, damaging lung tissue and causing respiratory and cardiovascular problems.”
Here’s where you can learn more about the air quality in specific Western states:
- National: IQ Air or Purple Air
- Arizona: https://azdeq.gov/forecasting
- California: https://cfpub.epa.gov/airnow/state/CA/index.cfm
- Colorado: https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/
- Idaho: http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/
- Montana: http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/
- Nevada: http://nvair.ndep.nv.gov/
- New Mexico: https://www.env.nm.gov/air-quality/
- Oregon: https://www.oregon.gov/deq/aq/pages/aqi.aspx
- Utah: https://air.utah.gov/
- Washington: https://enviwa.ecology.wa.gov/home/map
- Wyoming: http://www.wyvisnet.com/
Aid organizations to support:
You can help the firefighting effort -- and those displaced by the fires -- by contributing time and/or money to the following organizations:
The Red Cross has opened shelters for people fleeing fires. They have asked that anyone looking to support make a financial donation and are not accepting supplies at this time. You can donate on their website or by texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. If you'd rather volunteer your time, you can visit redcross.org/volunteer.
Thousands of firefighters are currently battling the immense fires across the West. Our courageous wildland firefighters are putting themselves in incredible danger. You can support the families of firefighters who have been injured or lost their lives through the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.