A risk assessment framework was used to assess the risks of forest fire smoke (ffs) to the exposed communities, critical infrastructures and the environment. The present work is focused on the planning and problem formulation phases of this risk assessment procedure. Specifically, as part of the problem formulation phase, integration of the available ffs chemical data was carried out by answering critical questions regarding the ffs. In this way, critical factors have been identified, which mostly define and characterize ffs as a cause of problems and possible symptoms. The integrated information can be used in order to determine assessment endpoints, conceptual models, and risk hypotheses, as presented in an indicative example referred to a simple risk scenario. This work, enhanced with additional risk scenarios, can be used for the next phases of the risk assessment procedure, such as risk analysis and risk characterization. Future research needs for adequate evaluation of ffs impacts on communities, infrastructures, and the environment are also discussed. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.