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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Joshua C. Hyde; Kara M. Yedinak; Alan F. Talhelm; Alistair M. S. Smith; David M. J. S. Bowman; Fay H. Johnston; Peter Lahm; Mark J. Fitch; Wade T. Tinkham
Publication Date: 2017

Wildland fire emissions degrade air quality and visibility, having adverse economic, health and visibility impacts at large spatial scales globally. Air quality regulations can constrain the goals of landscape resilience and management of fire-dependent ecosystems. Here, we review the air quality regulatory framework in the United States, comparing this framework with that of Australia. In the United States, wildland fire management and air quality policies have evolved independently, yet interact to meet diverse public needs. Australian policy development is more recent and decentralised. We find that (1) for maxiumum effectiveness, smoke and fire regulatory frameworks must keep pace with scientific evidence, environmental and social change, and be accompanied by clear regulatory guidance; (2) episodic, non-stationary qualities of fire, and its role in ecosystems, pose specific challenges to regulators and policy-makers; and (3) the complexity of industry-focused air quality policies often leads to unintended consequences for fire management. More research is needed to create and implement more effective fire and air policies and better prepare social-ecological systems to address the challenges of climate change mitigation. These insights may be helpful for countries initially developing complementary fire and air policies, especially as the role of fire becomes more important geopolitically and globally.

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Citation: Hyde, Joshua C.; Yedinak, Kara M.; Talhelm, Alan F.; Smith, Alistair M. S.; Bowman, David M. J. S.; Johnston, Fay H.; Lahm, Peter; Fitch, Mark; Tinkham, Wade T. 2017. Air quality policy and fire management responses addressing smoke from wildland fires in the United States and Australia. International Journal of Wildland Fire 26(5):347-363.

Cataloging Information

Alaska    California    Eastern    Great Basin    Hawaii    Northern Rockies    Northwest    Rocky Mountain    Southern    Southwest    International    National
  • air quality
  • Australia
  • fire management
  • health impacts
  • regulatory policy
  • smoke management
  • visibility
Record Last Modified:
Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 23749