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Report finds Michigan is in the top ten for smoke from wildfires

A map of the spread of smoke from wildfires in 2011

Michigan may not have a big problem with wild fires, but a new report claims Michigan does have a major problem with wildfire smoke.

The Natural Resources Defense Council is out with a report ranking Michigan seventh on a list of states with the most days with wildfire smoke in the air.

The NRDC studied data from 2011 which showed large wildfires in the western and southern parts of the country filled Michigan’s air with smoke for up to two weeks.   The report says 3.9 million people lived in the parts of Michigan in 2011 that had those smoke conditions.

“As a health scientist, I’m really concerned because we know that exposure to wildfire smoke can increase asthma attacks, pneumonia hospitalizations…they can worsen a whole host of chronic lung diseases,” says Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist with the NRDC.

According to NRDC report, the problem was worse in the Upper Peninsula than in southern Michigan.

The NRDC says there are steps that can be taken to reduce health problems from wildfire smoke, but the environmental group says the best solution is to take steps to reduce the problem of climate change.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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