Nearly 3.3 million tons of carbon monoxide was emitted during Oregon’s 2017 wildfire season, according to an estimate by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Carbon monoxide is not only a greenhouse gas, it poses a hazard to public health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms. Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO.
As the Oregon Legislature considers a costly “cap and trade” policy for the state, we have made the case that citizens would be better served by policies to reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires on federally-owned forests that covers 60 percent of Oregon’s forested land base. You can send this message to Oregon lawmakers by clicking here.