Wildfires are a growing natural hazard in most regions of the United States. They pose a threat to life and property, particularly where native ecosystems meet populated areas.
Sometimes the secondary effects of wildfires, including changes in air and water quality, are more damaging to health than the fire itself.
Wildfires expose people, especially children and those with lung problems, to a number of environmental hazards, including the byproducts of burning wood, plastics, and chemicals released from burning structures and furnishings.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has compiled this list of resources to help you protect yourself, your children, and your pets during and after a wildfire.
General Information on Wildfires and Health
How Wildfires Affect the Health of Children
- Environmental Hazards for Children in the Aftermath of Wildfires (Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units and the American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Health Risks of Wildfires for Children: Acute Phase (Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units and the American Academy of Pediatrics)
Protecting Your Pets in a Disaster
- American Veterinary Medical Association Disaster Preparedness (American Veterinary Medicine Association)
- AVMA Emergency Preparedness and Response Guide (American Veterinary Medical Association)
- Disaster Preparedness Resources - Barn Fires (The Humane Society of the United States)
- Protect Your Pets in An Emergency (CDC)
For Firefighters and Other Emergency Responders
Cleaning Up After a Disaster
- Residential Air Cleaning Devices: A Summary of Available Information (EPA)
- Cleanup Safely after a Disaster (CDC)
- Recovering from Disaster (FEMA)
- Safe Cleanup of Fire Ash (California EPA)
- Wildland Fire Chemical Clean-Up (USDA Forest Service)
How Open Burning Can Lead to Wildfires
Find information on DHEC's response and monitoring of the 2016 wildfires.