“Wildfire Threat to Inpatient Health Care Facilities in California, 2022” was published in The American Journal of Public Health on March 2, 2023 and evaluates the risk of wildfires on inpatient healthcare facilities in California. The authors of the study, Neil Singh Bedi, Caleb Dresser, Akash Yadav, Andrew Schroeder, and Satchit Balsari, assessed this risk by computing the distances of each facility to the nearest high, very high, and extreme Fire Threat Zones (FTZs).
The authors found that half (107 290 beds) of California’s total inpatient capacity is located within 0.87 miles of a high FTZ, and 95% (203 665 beds) is within 3.7 miles of a high FTZ. Half of the total inpatient capacity is within 3.3 miles of a very high FTZ and 15.5 miles of an extreme FTZ.
Public Health Implications
Findings from the paper suggest that policy should address facility-level preparedness including smoke mitigation, sheltering measures, evacuation procedures, and resource allocation.