Understanding Wildfire Smoke

The Climate Institute has received a two-year, $1.1 million grant from the EPA to launch an initiative called "Smoke Ready Spokane." Smoke Ready Spokane will help reduce indoor exposure to pollutants in wildfire smoke in the City of Spokane and community centers serving disadvantaged populations, including Northeast Community Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Outreach Center, and West Central Community Center. Partners include the City of Spokane, the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency and the University of Washington. Grant funding will go toward health awareness outreach, air-quality monitoring, HVAC upgrades and a public-engaged process of developing smoke readiness plans for buildings and communities.

In addition to partnering with local governments, agencies and peer higher education institutions, the Climate Institute's Smoke Ready Spokane initiative is a cross-campus partnership with the departments of mechanical engineering and computer science. Mechanical engineering’s Marc Baumgardner will oversee the installation of air-quality sensors, data analysis and HVAC upgrades, while Aaron Crandall in computer science will oversee development of on-site “dashboards” displaying real-time air quality and temperature data, in addition to working with sensor data gathering and storage.

Key parts of the project:

  • In collaboration with the City of Spokane, help establish cleaner air centers at:
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center
    • Northeast Community Center
    • West Central Community Center
  • In collaboration with the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency and the Spokane Regional Health District, create an expanded wildfire smoke health awareness outreach and education program.
  • Conduct a community survey to learn more about the impact of smoke events on different Spokane neighborhoods and communities.
  • With the University of Washington Collaborative on Extreme Event Resilience, host a stakeholder symposium to learn more about the interventions community members and leaders need to be stay health during future wildfire smoke events.
  • In collaboration with the City of Spokane Emergency Management Department and other regional groups develop a smoke readiness plan to coordinate resilience and safety efforts before, during, and after smoke events.

Learn more here:

Questions: ClimateInstitute@gonzaga.edu