Wenatchee's Community for the Advancement of Family Education, or CAFE, is raising awareness about the impacts of wildfire smoke on agricultural families.

At the Chelan-Douglas County Health District, the board heard from CAFE's Laura Rivera on the challenges and concerns with children's health.

"We will be building a platform for farmers to share experiences with smoke, listening to their stories and the takeaways that they have learned from experiencing smoke exposure." Rivera said.

The project is called ‘Clean Air – I Care' and the findings that CAFE's Laura Rivera shared with the board came from roundtable discussions and interviews with 80 participants in Wenatchee and Okanogan.

"Improving emergency notification around smoke exposure in a language they understand where it would be reading a flyer or social media or verbally." Rivera said.

Findings to Date 

  • Six major themes identified core needs in: Preparing homes for smoke events, Worksite resources for smoke events, Worksite response, more accessible summer childcare, Family stress, Resources for parents.
  • During smoke events, farmworkers often worry about how their families are doing while they are at work, and about keeping kids inside.
  • Parents emphasized their need for more reliable, affordable, and accessible childcare during the growing season.
  • There is a need for more smoke-related safety information, and a need to find ways to help families cope with large smoke events.
  • There were concerns about smoke exposure for kids, who are especially vulnerable, such as those with asthma.
  • More resources are needed to make homes a clean air space during wildfires.
  • During the community discussions, farmworkers shared that evacuation notices and smoke information were not widely shared in their communities.

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