Researchers at the Primate Research Center in Davis examined three-year-old rhesus monkeys that had been exposed as newborns to high levels of air pollution caused by wildfires burning around Northern California in 2008. The study shows that the monkeys, who were living outdoors at the time of the fires, were less able to fight off infectious diseases than animals born after the fires.
Lung development in rhesus monkeys and humans is very similar. The study is the first to show that particulate matter has a direct impact on primate immune system function.
The research suggests that exposure to particulates early in life could result in decreased lung capacity and lowered immunity persisting into adulthood.
A program will begin soon in the Eldorado National Forest to remove live or dead vegetation to prevent the spread of wildfires.
The Sacramento Suburban Water District is asking customers to voluntarily cut outdoor watering to one day a week this fall as other water providers move to mandatory restrictions.
The increase in the number of wildfires in California and the western U.S. may partly be caused by climate change.
The San Joaquin Valley enjoyed three weeks of healthy air in July for the first time in 20 years.
The California Fish and Game Commission voted Wednesday to ban bobcat trapping in the state.