Occupational exposures in California wildland fire fighting
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): B. L. Materna; J. R. Jones; P. M. Sutton; N. Rothman; R. J. Harrison
Publication Year: 1992

Cataloging Information

  • air quality
  • carbon
  • CO - carbon monoxide
  • dust
  • fire control
  • fire management
  • fire suppression
  • firebreaks
  • hydrocarbons
  • mopping up
  • mountains
  • northern California
  • particulates
  • sampling
  • statistical analysis
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: September 18, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 33909
Tall Timbers Record Number: 8093
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Industrial hygiene measurement of exposures to wildland fire fighters was conducted in northern California during three consecutive fire seasons (1986-1989) in conjunction with three separate health effects studies. Chemicals that were monitored included carbon monoxide, total and respirable particulates, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), crystalline silica, aldehydes, and benzene. Measurements were taken at both wildland fires and prescribed (Planned) burns. A variety of collection methods were employed - colorimetric detector tubes and a CO monitor were used for direct-reading area measurements; colorimetric diffusion tubes, filter cassettes, sorbent tubes, and passive vapor monitors were used for determining personal time-weighted average exposures. A new screening method (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Method 2539) was used to identify the presence of specific aldehydes. Results show that wildland fire fighters may at times be exposed to concentrations of carbon monoxide, total or respirable particulates, or silica at levels near or higher than recommended occupational exposure limits, although group means were generally well below the limits.

Materna, B. L., J. R. Jones, P. M. Sutton, N. Rothman, and R. J. Harrison. 1992. Occupational exposures in California wildland fire fighting. American Industrial Hygiene Journal, v. 53, p. 69-76.