Prescriptions for biomass fire smoke reductions
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Lawrence F. Radke; Darold E. Ward
Publication Year: 1994

Cataloging Information

  • Abies spp.
  • air quality
  • Betula papyrifera
  • biomass
  • Canada
  • coniferous forests
  • fuel moisture
  • heat
  • logging
  • moisture
  • pine forests
  • Pinus banksiana
  • Populus
  • precipitation
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • slash
  • smoke behavior
  • smoke management
  • Tsuga
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: January 17, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 34883
Tall Timbers Record Number: 9165
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.


Planning prescribed fires for optimal periods which results in emissions reduction is an extremely useful air quality management technique. New information suggests that one more useful tool in smoke management may involve using the capacity of the atmosphere to remove smoke particles. Smoke particles have been observed to be very efficient cloud condensation nuclei. Hence, when smoke particles are introduced into air masses of sufficient moisture content, clouds form and in some cases precipitation can be initiated. We have measured the smoke entering and leaving small cumulus clouds and find that while these clouds are not very effective in removing the accumulation mode aerosol (0.1 to 2 um) they do remove nearly all of the super-micron aerosol. However, for large cumulus clouds we have obtained data showing very significant scavenging of all but the smallest aerosol, removing 40 to 80% of the accumulation mode and approaching 100% removal of the supermicron mode particles. Cloud scavenging of smokes from biomass fires is a mechanism that should be considered in prescribing fires for wildland management purposes. Prescriptions that now minimize the emissions through reducing the total fuel consumption may need to be modified to provide for additional heat release to facilitate cumulus cloud formation or be scheduled to utilize naturally occurring clouds. © by the Society of American Foresters. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Radke, L. F., and D. E. Ward. 1994. Prescriptions for biomass fire smoke reductions. Proceedings of the Conference on Fire and Forest Meteorology, v. 11, p. 460-469.