The BlueSky smoke modeling framework (
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): Susan M. O'Neill; Sue A. Ferguson; Janice L. Peterson; R. C. Wilson
Publication Year: 2003

Cataloging Information

  • aerosols
  • air quality
  • catastrophic fires
  • chemical elements
  • competition
  • computer networks
  • computer programs
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire danger rating
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire management
  • fire suppression
  • fuel appraisal
  • fuel loading
  • fuel types
  • GIS
  • grass fires
  • health factors
  • histories
  • Idaho
  • JFSP - Joint Fire Science Program
  • land management
  • Montana
  • remote sensing
  • smoke behavior
  • smoke effects
  • smoke management
  • statistical analysis
  • suppression
  • topography
  • US Forest Service
  • Washington
  • wilderness areas
  • wildfires
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: March 12, 2021
FRAMES Record Number: 41569
Tall Timbers Record Number: 16494
TTRS Location Status: In-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.


BlueSky is a real-time smoke forecast system that predicts surface smoke concentrations from prescribed fire, wildfire, and agricultural burn activities. Developed by the USDA Forest Service in cooperation with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is a tool used by fire managers to aid in burn/no-burn decisions. Such a tool is of critical importance because competition for airshed is increasing. A history of fire suppression has left many forests ripe for catastrophic wildfires. Prescribed fire is a means of reducing the wildfire risk and for re-establishing the natural Eco-system. Furthermore, wheat stubble burning and grassland burning are part of the typical practices of many farming communities. Many of these burning activities occur at rural/urban interfaces and can impact sensitive populations such as asthmatics and the elderly. Thus a tool such as BlueSky, by providing daily predictions of where smoke plumes will occur and indicting concentration levels, is extremely useful to burn managers in a variety of agencies making burn/no-burn decisions. Five major components comprise the BlueSky modeling framework: Burn Reporting, Real-time Meteorology, Emissions Estimation, Dispersion, and Web-Display of all the output products. Nightly, BlueSky downloads predicted burn information from two burn reporting systems; the Fuel Analysis, Smoke Tracking, Report Access Computer System (FASTRACS) and the Montana Idaho Airshed Group's System ('RAZU'). The information includes date, time and location of the fire, acres burned, and an estimate of fuel loadings. These data are then processed through the EPMv1.02 model to give emission estimates of PM2.5,

Online Link(s):
O'Neill, S. M., S. A. Ferguson, J. Peterson, and R. C. Wilson. 2003. The BlueSky smoke modeling framework (, Second International Wildland Fire Ecology and Fire Management Congress and Fifth Symposium on Fire and Forest Meteorology, 16-20 November 2003, Orlando, FL [program volume and electronic resource]. American Meteorological Society,Boston, MA. p. 161-162,