Prescribed Burns Are Harmful

In addition to abusing private property owners and taking private land the USFS continues to expand their use of “prescribed burns” despite scientific evidence of serious health damage to the public from smoke, not to mention that the fires are often left to burn themselves out and frequently get out of control causing untold damage.

According to “Exposure to prescribed burn smoke increases children’s risk of lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and has been linked to psychological disorders and toxic damage to the nervous system and the brain in developing fetuses and young children. Unborn fetuses and infant children are 10 times more vulnerable to PAH damage than adults.

The dagger shaped smoke particles are so tiny that they go deep into the child’s lungs causing structural damage and chemical changes to the lung tissue. While some of the particles lodge deep in the child’s lungs causing bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia, others pass through the lungs into the blood stream entering the child’s systemic circulation causing organ failure and premature death. Studies show that prescribed burn smoke exposure can prevent the proper development of an unborn fetus, prevent the proper development of internal organs in infant children, depress the immune system, damage the nervous system, damage the brain, damage the layer of cells in the child’s lungs that protect and cleanse the airways, and cause unexpected infant mortality.

For vulnerable populations, such as elderly people, people with asthma, chronic respiratory disease and those with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, prescribed burn smoke exposure is particularly harmful, even short exposures can prove fatal. The American Lung Association recently published an annotated bibliography of recent studies of the health effects of air pollution linking wood smoke and air pollution with lung cancer, breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, asthma, and brain damage. They identify the elderly, diabetics, asthma patients, and those with congestive heart failure being at increased risk.”

Clearly the USFS needs Congressional review to examine and correct these serious charges of intimidation and harassment of private property owners under cover of law, violations of Constitutional Rights, violations of their mandate to respect private property, and their endangerment of public health with increasingly larger and repeated “prescribed burns”.


Elizabeth O’Nan is a member of C.A.S.H.’s Homeland Protection listserv, along with others who are battling the takeover of private lands for hunting and the abuse of property owners who try to protect their property.


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561