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Project ID: 09-1-04-2

Year: 2009

Date Started: 10/01/2009

Date Completed: 10/14/2013

Title: Sub-Canopy Transport and Dispersion of Smoke: A Unique Observation Dataset and Model Evaluation

Project Proposal Abstract: Smoke emissions and dispersion from low intensity and smoldering fires are not well characterized by existing models. The 2008 fires in the organic soils of North Carolina and the extensive fires in California adjacent to heavily populated urban centers have demonstrated the importance of characterizing and modeling smoke and emissions trajectories and concentrations, as well as the importance of smoke dispersion tools which can be easily applied to real-world fire events by fire managers. Comprehensive field programs are required to collect the data to improve emissions and dispersion models but have not been done because of the expense involved in doing the multiple field experiments that are required to obtain robust observation datasets. In this proposal, recent individual field programs, including FireFlux, In-canopy Plume Dynamics, Rapid Response, and Fuel Analyses are combined in a single comprehensive field study to measure in-canopy fire meteorological and thermodynamic parameters, smoke plume transport and dispersion near the active front, and smoldering phase emissions. This unique dataset will provide 1) emissions estimates for the smoldering phase of combustion; 2) near-fire horizontal and vertical smoke transport and dispersion; 3) changes in the below-canopy mixing conditions as the flaming front of the fire moves through the canopy; and 4) pollutant concentrations in and adjacent to the burn perimeter from ignition to smoldering phases. Additional data will characterize the influence of above-canopy winds and atmospheric stability on plume rise. A portion of these data will be used to evaluate a simple puff dispersion model developed for in-canopy plume transport and dispersion. A new pathway through the BlueSky Smoke Modeling Framework will be developed for low-intensity/smoldering emissions and subsequent smoke forecasts. This pathway will include the aforementioned puff model and it will be validated and tested with the data collected in the field from this project or other projects whose data are appropriate for model evaluation. Products will include a new pathway designed specifically for simulating smoke impacts from low-intensity/smoldering fires to assist land managers in characterizing smoke emissions; a database of emissions and smoke behavior from low-intensity/smoldering fires for current and future model evaluation and comparison; and reliable predictions of sub-canopy near source smoke concentrations from low intensity and/or smoldering portions of a fire.

Principal Investigator: Tara M. Strand

Agency/Organization: NZ Crown Research Institute (Scion)

Branch or Dept:

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Co-Principal Investigator

Craig B. Clements

San Jose University

Department of Meteorology

Co-Principal Investigator

Brian K. Lamb

Washington State University-Pullman

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Co-Principal Investigator

Robert A. Mickler

Alion Science & Technology Corp.

Co-Principal Investigator

Miriam L. Rorig

Forest Service

PNW-Pacific Northwest Research Station

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










Private lands

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   3332 Journal Article Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
view or print   314 MS Thesis Observations and Analysis of Fire-Atmosphere Interactions during Fire Front Passage
view or print   7327 Photo Sonic in smoke
view or print   7328 Photo One of five PM2.5 monitors in smoke
view or print   7329 Photo PM2.5 Monitor during burn
view or print   7330 Photo Line release of tracer gas during burn
view or print   7331 Photo Instrumenting one of the 3 tall towers
view or print   7332 Photo SmokyTower
view or print   7333 Photo Igniting around CO sensors
view or print   7334 Photo Post burn fuel data collection
view or print   7335 Photo Basic meteorological data collection
view or print   7336 Photo Checking CO and PM2.5 sensors
view or print   7337 Photo Igniting around turbulence tower
  go to website 4771 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Sub-Canopy Smoke Dispersion: Measurements of Fire-Behavior, Fuels, Consumption, Emissions, Plume Rise and Dispersion Near and in a Prescribed Fire-Source
  go to website 4772 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Turbulence Velocity Spectra and Co-Spectra Measured During Fire Front Passage
  go to website 4960 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Monitoring CO, PM2.5, CO2 From Low-Intensity Fires for the Development of Modeling Tools for Predicting Smoke Dispersion
  go to website 4961 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Sub-Canopy Transport and Dispersion of Smoke: An Overview of the Observation Dataset Collection and Future Model Development
  go to website 5158 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Near Field Pollutant and Tracer Dispersion During a Prescribed Pine Forest Burn
    4860 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Presentation to The Nature Conservancy, North Carolina Chapter
  go to website 5506 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Near Field Pollutant and Tracer Dispersion During a Prescribed Pine Forest Burn

Supporting Documents

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