The Comprehensive Fire Information Reconciled Emissions (CFIRE) inventory: wildland fire emissions developed for the 2011 and 2014 U.S. National Emissions Inventory
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Narasimhan K. Larkin; Sean M. Raffuse; ShihMing Huang; Nathan Pavlovic; Peter Lahm; Venkatesh Rao
Publication Year: 2020

Cataloging Information

  • CFIRE - Comprehensive Fire Information Reconciled Emissions
  • NEI - National Emissions Inventory
  • PM - particulate matter
  • PM2.5
  • remote sensing
  • satellite data
  • satellite fire monitoring
  • wildfire
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: December 28, 2021
FRAMES Record Number: 65028


Wildland fire emissions from both wildfires and prescribed fires represent a major component of overall U.S. emissions. Obtaining an accurate, time-resolved inventory of these emissions is important for many purposes, including to account for emissions of greenhouse gases and short-lived climate forcers, as well as to model air quality for health, regulatory, and planning purposes. For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 and 2014 National Emissions Inventories, a new methodology was developed to reconcile the wide range of available fire information sources into a single coherent inventory. The Comprehensive Fire Information Reconciled Emissions (CFIRE) inventory effort utilized satellite fire detections as well as a large number of national, state, tribal, and local databases. The methodology and results for CONUS and Alaska were documented and compared against other fire emissions databases, and the efficacy of the overall effort was evaluated. Results show the overall spatial pattern differences and relative seasonality of wildfires and prescribed fires across the country. Prescribed burn emissions occurred primarily in non-summer months were concentrated in the Southeast, Northwest, and lower Midwest, and were relatively consistent year to year. Wildfire emissions were much more variable but occurred primarily in the summer and fall. Overall, CFIRE represents a third of total emitted PM2.5 across all sources in the National Emissions Inventory, with prescribed fires accounting for nearly half of all CFIRE emissions. Compared with other wildland fire emissions inventories derived solely from satellite detections, the CFIRE inventory shows markedly increased emissions, reflecting the importance of the multiple national and regional databases included in CFIRE in capturing small fires and prescribed fires in particular.

Implications: Wildland fire emissions inventories need to incorporate multiple sources of fire information in order to better represent the full range of fire activity, including prescribed burns and smaller fires. For the 2011 and 2014 U.S. National Emissions Inventory, a methodology was developed to collect, associate, and reconcile fire information from satellite data as well as a large number of national, regional, state, local, and tribal fire information databases across the country. The resulting emissions inventory shows the importance of this type of integration and reconciliation when compared against other emissions inventories for the same period.

Online Link(s):
Larkin, Narasimhan K.; Raffuse, Sean M.; Huang, ShihMing; Pavlovic, Nathan; Lahm, Peter; Rao, Venkatesh. 2020. The Comprehensive Fire Information Reconciled Emissions (CFIRE) inventory: wildland fire emissions developed for the 2011 and 2014 U.S. National Emissions Inventory. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association 70(11):1165-1185.