Smoke exposure among fireline personnel
Document Type: Book Chapter
Author(s): R. D. Ottmar; T. R. Reinhardt
Editor(s): C. C. Hardy; R. D. Ottmar; J. L. Peterson; J. E. Core; P. A. Seamon
Publication Year: 2001

Cataloging Information

  • CO - carbon monoxide
  • firefighting personnel
  • health factors
  • smoke effects
  • smoke management
  • wilderness areas
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: September 18, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 39813
Tall Timbers Record Number: 14539
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: A13.99/8:SM 7/2
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.


From the text...'Evidence to date suggests that fireline workers exceed recommended exposure limits during prescribed burns and wildfires less than 10 percent of the time (Reinhardt and others 2000; Reinhardt and Ottmar 2000). The concept that few fireline personnel spend a working lifetime in the fire profession and should be exempt from occupational exposure standards which are set to protect workers over their careers is little comfort to those who do, and irrelevant for irritants and fast-acting hazards such as CO. Most of the exposure limits that are exceeded are established to prevent acute health effects, such as eye and respiratory irritation, headache, nausea and angina. An exposure standard specifically for fireline workers, and appropriate respiratory protection, needs to be developed. In addition, a long-term program to manage smoke exposure at wildland fires is needed (Sharkey 1997). The program could include: 1) hazard awareness training; 2) implementation of practices to reduce smoke exposure; 3) routine CO monitoring with electronic dosimeters (Reinhardt and others 1999); 4) improved record keeping on accident reports to include separation of smoke related illness among fireline workers and fire camp personnel; and 4) implementing and training for an OSHA-compliant respirator program to protect fireline personnel from respiratory irritants and CO when they must work in smoky conditions.'

Online Link(s):
Ottmar, R. D., and T. R. Reinhardt. 2001. Smoke exposure among fireline personnel, in CC Hardy, RD Ottmar, JL Peterson, JE Core, and PA Seamon eds., Smoke management guide for prescribed and wildland fire. National Wildfire Coordination Group, p. 51-57.