As changing weather patterns driven by global warming have extended California’s wildfire season and increased the intensity and size of the infernos burning across the state, residents who don’t take precautions do so at their own peril. New research is revealing the lasting effects of exposure to the tiny particulate matter in smoke — which includes soot, dust, and even lead that fires might be re-releasing into the atmosphere.

That increase in wildfires is concerning for Mary Prunicki, an asthma researcher at Stanford University who is studying the long-term health effects of wildfire pollution on people in the Bay Area. Earlier this year, Prunicki and her colleague Kari Nadeau released the findings from a study examining the health impact of pollutants from wildfires versus controlled fires. Their findings suggest that wildfires are more detrimental to human health than controlled fires, which are planned and purposely set under certain weather conditions to help maintain the health of forests.

Read the full article about wildfires by Yvette Cabrera at Grist.