USC experts share expertise about wildfires

October 11, 2019

Wildfires are burning throughout California and thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate their homes as firefighters battle blazes near Los Angeles. Earlier this week, the state’s largest power utility, PG&E, intentionally shut off electricity to hundreds of thousands of customers in an effort to avoid sparking more deadly wildfires. USC experts are available for news media interviews to discuss wildfires, including environmental impacts, smoke and health, urban land use, climate change and drought.

Contact: USC Media Relations (213) 740-2215 or

Ed Avol, professor of clinical medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC. He’s an expert in smoke toxicity, respiratory health, air pollution, health impacts and preventive measures.

Contact: (323) 442-1090 or

Richard Castriotta, a specialist in pulmonary critical care at Keck Hospital of USC, treats diseases and conditions that affect the lungs and breathing. He can speak to the dangers of air pollution and smoke inhalation.

Contact: Gabriella Robison @ 323-865-7657 or

George Ban-Weiss, professor of civil and environmental engineering, Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the USC Viterbi School. He’s an expert in climate change, land-use in urban areas, smoke and air pollution and resiliency of the built and natural environments.

Contact: (213) 740-9124 or

Josh West, associate professor of geology, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He’s an expert in post-fire landslides, debris flows that often follow fires during winter storms, and erosion.

Contact: w-(213) 740-6736, c-(505) 603-6223 or

Adam Rose, research professor, USC Price School of Public Policy, and faculty affiliate of the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) at USC. He’s an expert in the economics of disasters and served as the lead economist on the U.S. Geological Survey disaster scenarios and lead researcher for a report to Congress on the net benefits of the Federal Emergency Management Agency hazard mitigation grants.

Contact: (213) 740-8022 or

Julien Emile-Geay, assistant professor of Earth Sciences at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. He’s an expert in droughts, climate change and El Nino/La Nina cycles.

Contact: (213) 740-2945 or