California wildfires can threaten community health

October 17, 2019

Many Californians awoke last week to ashen skies, school closings, and evacuations as wildfires erupted across the state, according to an article on the Direct Relief website.

The blazes began at the same time the state’s two main power companies, Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison, turned off electricity to counties across California in an effort to prevent wildfires.

The outages disrupted operations at health centers and clinics, forcing many of them to shut down locations, redirect patients, and struggle to house temperature-sensitive vaccines, the article said.

Active fires also bring health risk to respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms caused by inhaling fine particles or post-traumatic stress. When healthcare organizations close, the problems are compounded, especially for people too poor or unwell to leave the area. 

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