Health Concerns Associated with Wildfire Smoke Exposure

Nov. 9, 2023

District 2, Public Health

Gainesville, GA — As wildfire favorable conditions continue, and fires emerge across parts of North Georgia, local health officials are warning residents about the potential health concerns associated with exposure to wildfire smoke.

Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic materials burn. These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into the lungs, causing a range of health problems from burning eyes and a runny nose to chronic heart and lung diseases.

“Exposure to wildfire smoke can cause serious health problems, particularly for children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions,” said Dr. Zachary Taylor, District Health Director of the North Health District. “We urge everyone to take necessary precautions to limit their exposure to the smoke.”

Health officials recommend the following steps to protect yourself from wildfire smoke:

1. Stay indoors: Keep windows and doors closed. Use air conditioning, if available, and keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.

2. Limit outdoor activities: Avoid strenuous outdoor activities when smoke levels are high.

3. Wear a mask: If you must be outside, wear a mask designed to filter out fine particles.

4. Follow local health advisories: Pay attention to local air quality reports and public health messages about taking additional safety measures.

“The North Health District is monitoring the situation in coordination with community healthcare partners and will continue to provide updates as conditions warrant,” added Dr. Taylor. “We urge everyone to stay informed and take the necessary precautions to protect their health during this time.”

For more information about protecting yourself from wildfire smoke, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at


About Us: The North Health District is District 2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health. Based in Gainesville, GA, the North Health District serves Banks, Dawson, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White counties. Learn more at