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M. Bryan Held, Miranda Rose Ragland, Sage Wood, Amelia Pearson, Seth W. Pearson, Olivia Chenevert, Rachel M. Granberg, Robin M. Verble
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Wildland Firefighter Health

NRFSN number: 26306
FRAMES RCS number: 69094
Record updated:

Background: Wildland firefighters are likely to experience heightened risks to safety, health, and overall well-being as changing climates increase the frequency and intensity of exposure to natural hazards. Working at the intersection of natural resource management and emergency response, wildland firefighters have multidimensional careers that often incorporate elements from disparate fields to accomplish the tasks of suppressing and preventing wildfires. Thus, they have distinctly different job duties than other firefighters (e.g., structural firefighters) and experience environmental health risks that are unique to their work. We conducted a systematic scoping review of scientific literature that addresses wildland firefighter environmental health. Our goal was to identify studies that specifically addressed wildland firefighters (as opposed to firefighters in a broader sense), geographic and demographic trends, sample sizes, patterns in analysis, and common categories of research.

Results: Most studies have clustered in a few highly developed countries, and in the United States within California and Idaho. Many studies fail to consider the impact that demographic factors may have on their results. The number of studies published annually is increasing and themes are broadening to include social and psychological topics; however, most authors in the field have published an average of < 3 articles.

Conclusions: We identify three areas that we believe are imminent priorities for researchers and policymakers, including a lack of diversity in study geography and demography, a need for more complex and interactive analyses of exposure, and prioritization of wildland firefighters in research funding and focus.


Held, M. Bryan; Ragland, Miranda Rose; Wood, Sage; Pearson, Amelia; Pearson, Seth Wayne; Chenevert, Olivia; Granberg, Rachel Marie; Verble, Robin Michelle. 2024. Environmental health of wildland firefighters: a scoping review. Fire Ecology 20:16.

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