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How Disease-Bearing Stuff Can Travel With Wildfire Smoke

<p>Smoke covers a hillside in the Applegate Valley of southwestern Oregon during a prescribed burn operation.</p>
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Smoke covers a hillside in the Applegate Valley of southwestern Oregon during a prescribed burn operation.

Our region dealt with two major challenges in 2020: the COVID-19 pandemic and destructive wildfires. Now recently published research indicates the two characters can travel together.

A paper in the journal Science indicates that wildfires can not only cause great destruction and carry unhealthy smoke many miles downwind, they can also carry disease-causing pathogens.

The issue is bioaerosols, the same situation we worry about with coronavirus: microbes suspended in the air. They are present in smoke and can travel great distances with the smoke.

Leda Kobziar at the University of Idaho and George Thompson at the University of California-Davis authored the research; they visit with details.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. John Baxter is the senior producer, Angela Decker is the producer and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.