Recent Fires in Northern California

Author: 
John I. Takayama, MD, MPH

Recent fires in Northern California killed at least 42 people, displaced over 100,000 people, destroyed nearly 9,000 homes and buildings and burned more than 200,000 acres. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected. While the fires may now be under control, the disaster is still evolving with many questions about long term impact. Please see attached links to documents (smoke exposure, mental health, general info) that may be helpful as you address questions and concerns. Please do let us know if you know or hear of any specific needs, especially if you are in areas in and around the fire zones. Also, if you have any additional ideas for helping those in need, please send email to our office: info@aapca1.org.

Comprehensive Resources on CDC website (webinar was held on October 26, 2017; website has list of resources)

https://emergency.cdc.gov/coca/calls/2017/callinfo_102617.asp

AAP sites that may be especially helpful include the following:

https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Children-and-Disasters/Pages/Wildfires.aspx

https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Children-and-Disasters/Pages/Promoting-Adjustment-and-Helping-Children-Cope.aspx

Wildfire Smoke: A guide for public health officials original created by the California Air Resources Board and California Department of Public Health (revised in 2016 with the help of numerous federal and state agencies including the CDC, EPA, US Forest Service, and Laurence Berkeley National Laboratory).

https://www3.epa.gov/airnow/wildfire_may2016.pdf

Information for PEHSU (Pediatric Environmental Health Service Units) on health risks of wildfires for children (aftermath): Guidance for health professionals:

http://www.pehsu.net/HealthProf_Wildfires_Aftermath_.html

Tips from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) for talking with and helping children and youth cope after a disaster or traumatic event: 

https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA12-4732/SMA12-4732.pdf

(Special thank you to Drs. Yasuko Fukuda, AAP California Vice Chair; Mark Miller, UCSF Pediatric Environmental Health Unit; and David Schonfeld, Director, National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement)