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New Tools for Estimating and Managing Local/Regional Air Quality Impacts of Prescribed Burns

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Final rept. 1 Jun 2008-28 Feb 2014

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Wildland fires are expected to increase as a consequence of climate change forces and more data were needed to help facility managers carry out prescribed burns, especially for the burning of southwestern and southeastern wild land fuels. As a consequence, RC-1648 and RC-1649 projects were funded to provide new information on the properties of the fuels in the field and models for the burning rates using both field and laboratory data. The combined projects collected and analyzed the most comprehensive data for gaseous and particulate matter emissions from these sources. Further the use of continuous instruments allowed the direct measurement of the emission factors for gases and particulate matter as the burns transitioned from flaming to smoldering regimes. Included in the final report and about 20 published journal articles are new and improved emission factors for criteria pollutants, selected hazardous air pollutants and elemental factors in EPAs AP-42 format for wildfire for DoD facilities with southeastern and southwestern fuels. A key finding in the RC -1648 project was the discovery that the percentage of graphic carbon is related to the fire intensity and the emissions rates of black and brown carbon. The complicated EPA CMAQ model was compared to the BlueSky framework. The later appears to be more useful to local land managers in developing estimated smoke emissions from prescribed burns.

Subject Categories:

  • Forestry
  • Combustion and Ignition
  • Air Pollution and Control

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