Direct Relief International has reached out to partners in Kern County, California, to offer medical assistance as multiple wildfires burn there. The blazes, which began yesterday, have burned 30 homes, 15,000 acres, and forced 2,300 people to evacuate, news reports indicate; Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency for the county.
People with respiratory conditions such as asthma face the greatest health threats during wildfires, caused mostly by airborne particulate matter. When air quality conditions are poor, protective masks, or N-95 particulate respirators, often become necessary to protect respiratory health.
Responding to major wildfire events in California over the last few decades, Direct Relief’s emergency response team is prepared to assist with appropriate aid as partners request to help treat patients affected by the fires in Kern County.