Ground-based field measurements of PM2.5 emission factors from flaming and smouldering combustion in eucalypt forests
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Fabienne Reisen; Carl P. Meyer; Christopher J. Weston; Liubov Volkova
Publication Year: 2018

Cataloging Information

  • Australia
  • combustion efficiency
  • CWD - coarse woody debris
  • Eucalypt forests
  • litter
  • particles
  • PM2.5
  • residual smoldering
  • smoldering combustion
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: October 29, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 56242


In fire‐prone areas such as southern Australia and parts of the United States, prescribed burning is a common fire management tool to reduce fuel load for wildfire suppression purposes. The burns are typically undertaken during calm and stable conditions when the burn extent and duration can be carefully controlled. This often coincides with poor atmospheric ventilation, leading to a build‐up of smoke which can impact air quality and human health. The low intensity of these burns also means that the plume is less buoyant and the main impact on local populations is due to emissions during the slow and prolonged smouldering combustion of heavy fuels. This study presents emissions measurements of PM2.5 at prescribed burns in eucalypt forests of southern Australia using a smoke collection method suitable for both flaming combustion of fine fuels and residual smouldering combustion of heavy fuels and logs. The median PM2.5 emission factors (EFs) measured were 16.9 g kg‐1 fuel during flaming combustion and 38.8 g kg‐1 fuel during smouldering combustion. The correlation between PM2.5 EFs and modified combustion efficiency (MCE) highlights two distinct trends at low MCE, attributed to the distinct combustion processes of glowing char combustion and pyrolysis. Hence two distinct relationships were developed that best fitted the measurements and that can be used to extrapolate measured EFs to a wider range of fuel and burning conditions. The results from this study addressed a gap in our knowledge of particle emissions during burns in eucalypt forests under different burning conditions and help to better forecast and manage air quality impacts from prescribed burns on nearby communities.

Online Link(s):
Reisen, Fabienne; Meyer, Carl P.; Weston, Christopher J.; Volkova, Liubov. 2018. Ground-based field measurements of PM2.5 emission factors from flaming and smouldering combustion in eucalypt forests. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 123(15):8301-8314.