Firefighter's Acute Inflammatory Response to Wildfire Suppression

Luana C. Main, Alexander P. Wolkow, Jamie L. Tait, Paul Della Gatta, Jenni Raines, Rodney Snow, Brad Aisbett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives:The purpose of this study was to determine the inflammatory response to a 12-hour wildfire suppression shift, in firefighters attending the "Black Saturday" natural disaster.Methods:Thirty-eight male volunteer firefighters provided venous blood samples before and after a 12-hour firefighting shift. Pre- to post-shift changes in pro-inflammatory (Interleukin [IL]-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12P70, granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor [GM-CSF], tumor necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-α], interferon-gamma [IFNγ]), and anti-inflammatory (IL-4, IL-5, IL-7, IL-10, IL-13) cytokines were measured with paired sample t tests, or Wilcoxon t tests for non-parametric data.Results:Interleukin (IL)-6 (P=0.003) and IL-8 (P=0.017) were significantly increased following 12-hours of wildfire suppression. There was also a significant decrease in IL-10 (P=0.021).Conclusions:The observed acute inflammatory response may have resulted from multiple stressors including physical exertion, thermal strain, or smoke inhalation experienced during the shift, and may be a necessary response for the body to adapt to stressor exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-148
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • firefighters
  • inflammation
  • interleukin-6
  • natural disaster
  • stress

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