In the United States, the number of acres burned each year from wildland fires has grown, increasing work-related risks to wildland firefighters. One invisible risk is carbon monoxide (CO), produced from the burning of fuels, such as in fires or from gasoline-powered engines. In a recent study led by Scott Henn, NIOSH industrial hygienist, he describes conditions that increase this risk.
Wildland fire fighters are required to pass an “arduous duty” physical fitness test annually to help ensure that they are prepared for the physical nature of the job. Unlike structural fire fighting, wildland fire fighting often requires long work shifts that may last up to 14 continuous days, and often takes place in environments that are challenging with regard to temperature and terrain.
Dozens of fires sparked by high temperatures, severe drought conditions and strong winds have blanketed the western part of the U.S. including Washington, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and California in recent months, making this fire season one of the worst in history.
Experts advise maintaining a "situational awareness"
September 13, 2011
As wildfires that have already destroyed more than 1500 homes continue to burn in Texas, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) are encouraging people in vulnerable areas to prepare their homes for the possibility of fire -- and to evacuate if called upon to do so.