Managing smoke from wildfires and prescribed burning in southern Australia
Document Type: Book Chapter
Author(s): Alan Wain; Graham A. Mills; William Lachlan McCaw; Tim J. Brown
Editor(s): Andrzej S. Bytnerowicz; Michael J. Arbaugh; Christian Andersen; Allen R. Riebau
Publication Year: 2009

Cataloging Information

  • Australia
  • fuel reduction
  • smoke dispersion
  • smoke forecasting
  • smoke management
  • wildfires
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: February 29, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 15085


In Australia the responsibility for management of forests and other public lands rests largely with state governments, and multiple government agencies may be involved in fire management. Whether resulting from wildfire, fuel reduction, or silvicultural operations, biomass burning often stimulates community concerns about hazards from fine particulates and chemical compounds contained in smoke. Management practices and community perceptions of smoke from biomass burning differ from region to region according to social and environmental factors. Recognition of the need for a response to concerns has led to the development of a smoke management research program within the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, in conjunction with fire and land management agencies and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau). This program aims to assist land management planning by predicting where smoke from scheduled burns would be transported, thus providing the opportunity to avoid burning in situations where there is potential for adverse community impact. The primary tool provided is a dispersion model forecast using input from the Bureau's operational mesoscale numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. Decision tools are applied in a similar manner for prescribed burning and wildfires and have been used by agencies to provide community advice and to avoid smoke hazards during aircraft operations. We investigated strategies used by land management agencies to minimize community impact of smoke from prescribed burns, and studied the way in which the dispersion model forecasts are integrated into their decision support systems.

Online Link(s):
Wain, Alan; Mills, Graham; McCaw, Lachlan; Brown, Timothy. 2009. Managing smoke from wildfires and prescribed burning in southern Australia. Pages 535-550. In: Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Arbaugh, Michael; Andersen, Christian; Riebau, Allen (editors). Wildland Fires and Air Pollution. Developments in Environmental Science 8. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier.

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