Wildfire, Smoke and Air Quality Experts

Wildfire in Santa Rosa, CA, October 2017. (Getty)

The following sources from the University of California, Davis, are available to talk with media about climate change and wildfire, smoke and air quality. 

More UC Davis climate change experts lists are available under the topic areas of atmospheric sciences, water, wildlife, agriculture, energy and transportation, and community resilience.

Air Quality and Wildfire Smoke

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, is professor of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the UC Davis School of Medicine and directs the Environmental Health Sciences Center. She can discuss the potential health impacts of wildfire, smoke and ash, as well as other environmental exposures. Contact: ihp@ucdavis.edu, 530-752-3025, or Lisa Howard at UC Davis Health, 916-752-6394, lehoward@ucdavis.edu

Anthony Wexler, director of the Air Quality Research Center, can discuss air quality of urban and natural areas, and the impacts of wildfire, emissions and other forms of pollution on air quality. Contact: aswexler@ucdavis.edu, 530-754-6558

Kent Pinkerton, professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine and director of Center for Health and the Environment, can discuss the health effects of inhaled environmental air pollutants, including smoke from wildfires. 530-752-8334, kepinkerton@ucdavis.edu   

Keith Bein is an associate professional researcher with the Air Quality Research Center. He can discuss the health effects of air pollution and smoke from wildfires, the role of particles in climate change, air sampling techniques and environmental justice. Contact: (530) 570-2562, kjbein@ucdavis.edu

Helene Margolis is an associate adjunct professor with UC Davis Health & School of Medicine. She can discuss the health impacts of climate change and environmental factors, most notably heat and air pollution, on vulnerable populations, especially children and older adults. Contact: hgmargolis@ucdavis.edu

Anita Oberholster is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in Enology. She can discuss the potential impacts of wildfire smoke on wine grapes, or “smoke taint.” Contact: (530) 754-4866, aoberholster@ucdavis.edu

Thomas Young is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate director of the Superfund Research Program. Young and postdoctoral researcher Gabrielle Black have been studying ash samples from the 2017 Sonoma fires for possible pollutants formed by incinerating household chemicals, electronics and other products. Contact: (530) 754-9399, tyoung@ucdavis.edugnpecora@ucdavis.edu

Climate Adaptation and Resilient Construction

Michele Barbato is a structural engineering professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He also co-directs the UC Davis Climate Adaptation Research Center. His research is focused on developing sustainable and wildfire-resilient construction materials. He can also discuss wildfire risk assessment and mitigation, electric grid hardening, and other hazard mitigation strategies for earthquakes, hurricanes, wind and other climate-related challenges. Languages: English, Italian. Contact: mbarbato@ucdavis.edu

Forestry and Plants

Mark Schwartz, an ecologist and professor of Environmental Science and Policy, can speak broadly about climate change impacts on forested ecosystems, stressors and management responses. mwschwartz@ucdavis.edu

Hugh Safford is regional ecologist for the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region and holds a research position in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy. He can discuss forest management and the impacts of climate change on wildfires and restoration ecology. Contact: hdsafford@ucdavis.edu

Malcolm North is a forest ecologist with the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region and an adjunct professor at UC Davis. He can discuss climate change impacts on wildfire and forest management. Contact: 530-902-8135, mnorth@ucdavis.edu

Andrew Latimer, a professor of Plant Sciences, can discuss how forests and grasslands respond to climate change, drought and fire. Contact: 530-309-9111, amlatimer@ucdavis.edu

James Thorne, a research scientist with the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, can discuss the vulnerability of California’s vegetation to climate change over the coming decades. Contact:  530-752-4389, jhthorne@ucdavis.edu

Susan Harrison, an ecologist and professor of Environmental Science and Policy, can discuss post-fire ecology and climate change’s effects on grassland communities. Contact: 530-752-7110, spharrison@ucdavis.edu

Burn injury

Tina L. Palmieri is a professor in the Department of Surgery, Director of the Firefighters Burn Institute Burn Center at UC Davis, and Assistant Chief of Burns for Shriners Hospital for Children Northern California. She can discuss the effects, treatment, and outcomes of all types of burn injury, including wildfires, as well as triage, medical response, and prevention of wildfire burns. Contact: 916-453-2050; or Public Affairs at UC Davis Health, 916-734-9040, hs-publicaffairs@ucdavis.edu


This expert's list was updated July 20, 2021 from previous version in 2018 and 2019.


Media Resources

Kat Kerlin, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-750-9195, kekerlin@ucdavis.edu

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