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Project ID: 07-2-1-60

Year: 2007

Date Started: 06/04/2007

Date Completed: 06/28/2010

Title: Wildfire Inputs to Regional Air Quality: Remote Spatial-Temporal Measures for Improved Inventory Assessments

Project Proposal Abstract: Accurate information on regional background particulate matter concentrations is essential to burn permitting and airshed management. Such information is essential to efforts to comply with National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The standard approach (applied by Malm: # 01-1-5-01 and others) to quantify regional wildfire emissions, while the most widely applied and easily understood, exhibits considerable uncertainly. Specifically, apart from area burned, its parameterization does not account for the high spatial-temporal variability in fuels and fire behavior, nor the associated effects on fuel combustion and emission characteristics. As field measures of these parameters are logistically impossible to collect at scales meaningful for rapid or regional assessments, it is essential to develop and refine remote sensing methods for this purpose. Recent research has shown that remote measures of the energy radiated by fire-affected pixels (Rx/wildfire) are directly related to smoke source strength (kg/MJ). We therefore propose to measure this radiative energy for each fire-affected pixel throughout the entire duration of large-scale candidate fires; and use the corresponding smoke source strength as inputs within regional transport models. Unlike the traditional approach, this method provides data on the rate of smoke emission when the fire is occurring, and so incorporating such measures into regional air quality models (e.g., the BlueSky Smoke Dispersion Forecast System and the AIRPACT-3 regional air quality forecast system) should enable improved real-time spatial-temporal emission assessments. We propose to: 1) Select several large wildfires and evaluate the spatial-temporal variability of the emission source strengths; 2) Compare the emissions using the traditional methodology and via prior regional assessments; 3) Demonstrate the sensitivity of current air quality models to these different emission methods; and 4) present findings/method to managers/researchers.

Principal Investigator: Alistair M. Smith

Agency/Organization: University of Idaho

Branch or Dept: Department of Forest Resources

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Brian K. Lamb

Washington State University-Pullman

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Federal Cooperator

Brian E. Potter

Forest Service

PNW-Seattle-Managing Natural Disturbances

Federal Fiscal Representative

Tamatha S. Verhunc

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

Project Locations


Great Basin







Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print   165 MS Thesis Using In-Situ Observations by Wildland Fire Fighters to Assess Detection by MODIS (H. Heward)
    172 Poster Using In-Situ Observations by Wildland Fire Fighters to Assess Detection by MODIS
view or print   262 Poster Wildfire Inputs to Regional Air Quality Remote Spatial-Temporal Measures for Improved Inventory Assessments
view or print   266 Poster The Effect of Decomposition on Coarse Woody Debris Combustion: A Preliminary Investigation
view or print   271 Poster Furthering Air Quality and Smoke Management Trainings
    944 Training Session A 2 month online training courses (offered via NWCG SMoC) were developed based on material from the 2 regional workshops, with the addition of interactive components such as online discussion groups.
  go to website 1037 Website Audio-vidual recordings of both workshops are present via a secure site. The records are recorded with MediaSite and enable users to view the presentations after the workshops. These presentations are the foundation of the pending course.
view or print go to website 1832 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Effective Communication for Smoke Management in a Changing Air Quality Environment
view or print   4523 Invited Paper/Presentation Using MODIS FRP Values to Estimate Forest Fire PM 2.5 Emission
  go to website 6121 Website Online Smoke Management and Air Quality for Land Managers Tutorial. Four case studies are intended for those who already have a basic knowledge of air quality issues such as knowing the major federal policies, impacts smoke has on communities, and smoke management techniques. For those who do not have this background, we developed an air quality and smoke management refresher tutorial.
view or print go to website 7039 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Effective Communication for Smoke Management in a Changing Air Quality Environment

Supporting Documents

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