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EPA Announces Update to Smoke Sense Mobile App to Enhance Access to Air Quality Conditions

10/16/2018
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WASHINGTON  — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an update to its Smoke Sense mobile application, which can help users learn about air quality conditions during a wildfire and how to protect their health from smoke. 

“This user-friendly research tool enables individuals to participate in a citizen science study while also learning about what they can do to protect themselves from smoke during wildland fires,” said Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science for EPA’s Office of Research and Development and EPA Science Advisor.

Background

The Smoke Sense app is part of a research study to understand the extent to which smoke from wildfires impacts human health and productivity; discover how people protect their health during smoke exposure; and develop effective strategies to communicate risks from smoke exposure.

The app, which was piloted in 2017 during the first year of the study, provides current and forecasted air quality using the Air Quality Index (AQI), and maps of fire locations and smoke plumes. New features in the 2018 update include:

• Time of last measurement of two air pollutants present during wildfires—fine particulate matter and ozone;
• Access to the most current information about individual fires;
• Maps of hourly forecasts of smoke and ozone across the continental U.S.;
• Smoke Smarts module to test your knowledge of wildfire smoke exposure; and
• Upgraded graphics and streamlined tutorials and information buttons.

Smoke from wildfires can cause eye, ear, nose and respiratory problems and worsen lung and heart disease. Children, pregnant women, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to smoke exposure.

The Smoke Sense App can be downloaded for free in the App Store and Google Play.

EPA is hosting a public webinar about the 2018 update on Tuesday, October 23, 2-3 PM EDT, for more information and to register, visit: https://www.epa.gov/research/webinar-smoke-sense-project-2018

More information about Smoke Sense can be found at www.epa.gov/air-research/smoke-sense