USC experts respond to wildfires scorching California

August 21, 2020

As wildfires rage in California, USC experts are ready to help explain the story, including damage to structures, health effects from smoke inhalation, environmental impacts, public policy and climate change. 

Contacts: Gary Polakovic (323) 527-7770 or; 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: or (323) 442-1090

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


Adam Rose, research professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and director of the USC Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). 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: or (814) 777-6789

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

Contact: or (310) 429 7701

Seth John, assistant professor of Earth sciences, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He’s an expert on how fires affect ecosystems, including coastlines and marine environments.

Contact: or (617) 869-8463

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

Contact: or (505) 603-5223


Photo credit: Pixabay