The Times podcast: Deep breath. Let’s talk about our air

Mountains and plants silhouetted against a smoky sky
Thick smoke shrouds Yosemite National Park’s landmarks in September 2020.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Wildfires across the American West this summer spewed out smoke full of particulates that darkened skies, created unnaturally beautiful sunsets and boosted health risks far and wide. This problem has been getting worse as the years go by. So how will we move forward?


Today, we convene our monthly Masters of Disasters panel to talk about what makes wildfire smoke special, how to protect yourself and what the future might be. We also discuss reasons to be optimistic. And no, we’re not apologizing for the corny jokes. You’re welcome.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times air quality reporter Tony Barboza, wildfire reporter Alex Wigglesworth and earthquake and COVID-19 reporter Ron Lin

More reading:

Wildfire smoke now causes up to half the fine-particle pollution in Western U.S., study finds

Wildfire smoke may carry ‘mind-bending’ amounts of fungi and bacteria, scientists say

How to keep the air in your home clean when there’s wildfire smoke outside

As ‘diesel death zones’ spread, pollution regulators place new rules on warehouse industry

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producer Denise Guerra and producers Shannon Lin, Melissa Kaplan and Ashlea Brown. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editors are Lauren Raab and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.