Biden-Harris Administration, EPA announce $1.9 million grant to Arizona for wildfire smoke preparedness
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected the Arizona Board of Regents and Arizona State University to receive a $1,954,130 grant to enhance wildfire smoke preparedness and protection in communities across the state. The grant will help engage diverse communities in Arizona to develop solutions to the challenges that are posed by wildfires. The project is expected to engage community members on the topic of indoor air pollution control and associated health fields, evaluate the capacity of facilities to handle the air pollution and heat impacts of wildfires, and implement sustainable solutions in Arizona facilities.
“Providing the public with tools to protect themselves against the dangers of wildfire smoke is essential for communities across Arizona, especially as climate change accelerates and intensifies wildfires,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “This grant to Arizona State University will fund a project to improve the capability of local communities to reduce indoor air pollutants during a wildfire smoke event.”
“The Arizona State University team is exceptionally excited for this opportunity to work with communities in Arizona to develop resilient solutions to the unique air quality and heat challenges that are posed by wildfires, which have increased in size and frequency due to our changing climate,” said Dr. Jean Andino, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Arizona State University. “This funding will allow ASU to co-develop solutions to environmental problems facing Arizona, engage students in interdisciplinary research, and positively impact the health of our local communities.”
Wildfire smoke is a significant public health problem. Smoke plumes can have impacts over a large portion of the U.S. population, with health impacts ranging from eye and throat irritation to asthma attacks, heart problems, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and even premature death. Local officials often advise people to stay indoors during a smoke event. Some of the smoke from outdoors, however, can enter homes and buildings and make it unhealthy to breathe indoor air, too. Buildings are varied and do not all provide the same level of protection against wildfire smoke.
The Wildfire Smoke Preparedness in Community Buildings grant program is a new federal program to enhance community wildfire smoke preparedness by providing grants to states, federally recognized Tribes, public preschools, local educational agencies, and non-profit organizations. Projects are designed to assess, prevent, control, or abate wildfire smoke hazards in community buildings that serve the public, and that serve disadvantaged communities or vulnerable populations. EPA anticipates awarding nine grants across the country, ranging from approximately $350,000 to $2 million – totaling over $10 million.
These grants are provided under Section 103(b)(3) of the Clean Air Act as supplemented by authority provided in the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act and the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act to fund abatement activities.
Learn more about the Wildfire Smoke Preparedness in Community Buildings grant program.
Learn more about wildfires and indoor air quality.