Children who survived the worst of the 2009 wildfires in Victoria, Australia performed more poorly than expected on standardized tests years later, particularly compared to their peers in regions that escaped the flames, new research says. The findings suggest that as communities around the world wrestle with more frequent and more severe fires, there may be consequences that last long after the smoke clears.
In February 2009, the Black Saturday wildfires burned more than 1,500 square miles in Victoria. The inferno killed 173 people, and destroyed 2,000 homes, three schools, and three pre-schools. A new study, published Wednesday in the journal Child Development, tracks the test scores of students who attended severely affected schools….