Earlier this month, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) asked the Biden administration to focus specifically on the health impacts of wildfire smoke as they launch a new whole-of-government initiative on climate and equity. The administration’s recent announcement highlighted new ways families in the Valley can access information on climate including up to the minute tracking of wildfires and the smoke they cause.
Rep. Harder’s push for a focus on the impacts of wildfire smoke also comes after new reporting from California Newsroom shows that smoke days in the Central Valley have more than tripled during the last ten years.
• Turlock experienced an average of 60 smoke days each year from 2016 to 2020 compared to 18 smoke days each year from 2009 to 2013.
• Modesto experienced an average of 54 smoke days each year from 2016 to 2020 compared to 16 smoke days each year from 2009 to 2013.
• Sacramento experienced an average of 58 smoke days each year from 2016 to 2020 compared to 20 smoke days each year from 2009 to 2013.
“Growing up with childhood asthma I know what it’s like to go to school more worried about finding your inhaler than finding your homework. It just breaks my heart to know that one in six kids is experiencing that kind of stress because of the smoke pouring into our Valley,” said Rep. Harder. “I’m excited to see the Biden administration’s new announcement on health equity, but I’ll be on them every single day until I see them prioritizing the impact of wildfire smoke with the urgency our community needs. Our kids deserve better than the air they’re breathing today.”
For the last several months, Harder has repeatedly pushed for Congress and the Biden administration to consider the impacts of wildfire smoke on communities such as the Central Valley. Presently, many cities in the Central Valley are classified as some of the most polluted in the country, one out of every six children have asthma in the Valley, and wildfires are known to be directly tied to decreasing air quality across the region. Rep. Harder himself suffered from childhood asthma growing up in Turlock.