Document


Title

Know your smoke: updated smoke modeling tool estimates higher particulate emissions from wildfire than previously predicted
Document Type: Fact Sheet / Brief / Bulletin
Author(s): Josh McDaniel
Publication Year: 2020

Cataloging Information

Keyword(s):
  • air quality
  • emission factors
  • flaming
  • FOFEM - First Order Fire Effects Model
  • fuel bed
  • PM - particulate matter
  • PM2.5
  • smoldering
  • wildfire
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 17, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 62309

Description

Reliable predictions of emissions from wildland fires are a key element of smoke management programs. Emission factors (the amount of pollutants produced per amount of fuel consumed) are used in models to estimate the composition of smoke. Over the past two decades, laboratory and field studies have made great progress in characterizing the chemical composition of smoke and quantifying emission factors. However, until recently, the widely used First Order Fire Effects Model (FOFEM) did not incorporate these advances in smoke science. A recent Rocky Mountain Research Station project reviewed and synthesized wildland fire emission data from over 40 studies to create an updated, comprehensive database of emission factors. The updated emission factor database provides emission factors for nearly 200 gaseous and particulate pollutants emitted by wildland fires. The emission factor database has been integrated into the most recent version of FOFEM,. The updated emission factors indicate that the particulate emissions from wildfire and prescribed fire are substantially higher than previous estimates before the update. However, it is not that fires are producing more emissions—just more than we previously realized.

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (2.8 MB; pdf)
Citation:
McDaniel, Josh. 2020. Know your smoke: updated smoke modeling tool estimates higher particulate emissions from wildfire than previously predicted. Science You Can Use Bulletin 44. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 9 p.

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